Category Archives: Outdoors

West Nile virus confirmed in horses in Kansas

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health has received notification of multiple confirmed cases of West Nile virus in horses across the state over the past few weeks. Confirmed cases have been reported in Lyon, Seward, Neosho, Marion and Wichita counties.

WNV is a preventable disease, with annual vaccinations that have proven highly effective. All of the confirmed cases of WNV in Kansas were in unvaccinated horses or horses with an unknown vaccination history and assumed to be unvaccinated. All horse owners should consult with their local veterinarians and make a vaccination plan for their horses.

WNV is a virus that can infect humans, horses, birds and other species. Horses infected with WNV can have symptoms that range from depression, loss of appetite and fever to severe neurologic signs such as incoordination, weakness, inability to rise, and hypersensitivity to touch or sound. WNV can be fatal in horses. Anyone who sees symptoms of WNV in their horse should contact a veterinarian immediately.

The virus is carried and transmitted by mosquitoes; it is not directly contagious from horse to horse or from horse to human. WNV is a reportable disease in Kansas, which means veterinarians are required by law to report any confirmed cases to the state veterinarian.

Late summer rain eased drought in parts of Kansas, but northeast counties still dry

By Mary Lou Peter
K-State Research and Extension

MANHATTAN, Kan. – A shift in weather patterns that began in early August brought welcome rain to drought-stricken Kansas, but even with the precipitation, the northeast part of the state is still parched.

“Ponds are still low. Streams are not running. There wasn’t as much benefit from the recent rains as we had hoped,” said Mary Knapp, climatologist with the Weather Data Library at Kansas State University.

Some of those counties that experienced heavy rains and flash flooding on Labor Day weekend are still in drought. The Sept. 11, 2018, U.S. Drought Monitor for Kansas shows many northeast counties still in abnormally dry to exceptional drought conditions.

“This drought had its roots in a very dry winter,” said Knapp of conditions months ago that were so widespread Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer issued a drought declaration in March covering all 105 Kansas counties.

After a hot start to the summer, temperatures moderated somewhat in August and rain fell across much of the state. In June, statewide temperatures averaged 4.7 degrees warmer than normal. July statewide temperatures averaged 0.4 degrees warmer than normal. For August, the statewide temperature average was 1.5 degrees cooler than normal. State-wide precipitation was 125 percent of normal.

The current situation with drought in the eastern counties, but generally not in the west except a sliver along the border with Colorado, is just opposite the typical scenario, Knapp said. Semi-arid western Kansas usually tends to be drier than eastern Kansas. Average annual precipitation in Garden City is 19.15 inches, while in Topeka it is 36.46. As of Sept. 15, Garden City has received 19.46 inches, while Topeka has received just 18.39 inches.

Chamber selects Shaffers’ lawn as Osage City yard of the month for September

The Osage City Chamber of Commerce has selected Robert and Cheryl Shaffer’s yard as the Osage City’s Yard of the Month for the month of September. With the assistance of Mother Nature providing the area some much needed rain, Robert and Cheryl’s yard in Osage City became green again along with their beautiful and intriguing landscape areas. Their home is located at 849 Romine Ridge, Osage City.

September marks the fourth and final month of the Osage City Chamber of Commerce’s recognition of the “Yard of the Month” for 2018. Recognition is given during the period of June through September.

Teeing off: Osage City Golf Course hosts nighttime tournament Saturday

By Richard Burkdoll
Osage City Golf Course President

As the golf year winds down we want to thank everyone that has supported the golf course and helped us improve your course. Extra play and an increase in memberships has helped us out of some of the financial trouble we were in two years ago.  We have 98 members this year, up from 72 just two years ago.

Currently, we need money for fertilizer, seed, and new parts for the irrigation. We are having a fundraiser “Night Golf Tournament” Sept. 15, 2018. The tournament will be a 4-person scramble. Call out to the golf course to reserve your team. (Limited to the first 18 teams).

We have had problems with the irrigation all summer. The fairways have really greened up with the recent rains. Hopefully, we will get the irrigation fixed so we can have green fairways all of next summer.

In the clubhouse, Randy, pro-shop manager, is selling raffle tickets for a free golf membership for next year, to help raise money.

For more information about the upcoming night tournament or the Osage City Golf Course, call 785-528-3329, or stop by at 1401 S. Fourth St., Osage City, Kan.

ICYMI: Pomona State Park celebrates great weekend of ‘going retro’

Happiest campers award went to these greeters welcoming visitors to their camper, “Roseanne”, a 1963 Mobile Scout that belongs to Eric Marx.

If time slipped by and you missed it, Pomona State Park celebrated another great weekend of “going retro” during the annual Going Retro Car, Vintage Trailer And Antique Boat Show, on Aug. 17-19, 2018. In addition to the car show, spectators had the opportunity to step back in time and view the many vintage campers, inside and out, that filled the campsites of two campgrounds in the park.

Hosts of the event, Friends of Pomona State Park, have announced the winners of the shows as follows:

The best old Melvern pickup award winner enjoys a shade tree during the Pomona State Park ‘Going Retro’ Show.

Master Gardener program now taking applications; apply by Nov. 2

The Frontier Extension District is taking applications for upcoming Master Gardener training. In the Master Gardener program, participants learn about plant biology, soils, flowers, trees and shrubs, lawn care, fruits, vegetables, indoor plants, insects, diseases and pesticides. The educational information received can benefit participants and their neighborhood.

The Master Gardener training will be held 9 a.m.-5 p.m. every other Saturday starting Jan. 5, 2019, and running until March 2, 2019.

If you aren’t sure if the Master Gardener program is for you, ask yourself these questions. Do you enjoy working in the garden, flower bed or your lawn? Do you enjoy people, learning new things, and helping out in your community? If you answered yes to these questions, the Master Gardner Program might be for you.

Blue-green algae closes Michigan Valley Swim Beach for Labor Day weekend

VASSAR, Kan. – For the second time this summer, weekend visitors to Pomona Lake will be greeted with the closure of Michigan Valley Swim Beach, after test results showed the presence of blue-green algae.

Friday morning, Aug. 31, 2018, U.S Army Corps of Engineers officials announced Michigan Valley Swim Beach would be closed during the Labor Day weekend, after receiving positive test results for the algae Thursday.

“Once again not so great news entering the holiday weekend,” said Scott Rice, USACE operations manager at the lake. “Tests results from the Michigan Valley beach received yesterday afternoon showed the presence of blue green algae.

“Officials will continue to monitor the lake, but the entire lake remains in a watch status,” he said. “We encourage visitors to be vigilant of lake signage and to understand conditions could change along with the weather.”

Hot and sunny weather conditions combined with high nutrient levels create ideal conditions for harmful algae bloom growth.

Rice said samples will be taken again next week by Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and those results should be known next Friday afternoon. KDHE will update the lake’s status as conditions warrant.

The swim beach was closed previously on Aug. 17, but it was reopened on Aug. 24.

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 those that eat dried algae along the shore, may become seriously ill.

Boat ramps and lake activities are not affected at this time. Area businesses and park camping facilities are open. Drinking water and showers at parks are safe and not affected by algae blooms.

USACE encourages lake visitors to be safe on the water during Labor Day holiday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District, which manages 18 lakes throughout Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska, is encouraging everyone to not be a statistic this Labor Day weekend and to wear a life jacket while in, on, or around the water.

“Since March of this year, eight water-related fatalities have occurred at our lakes,” said Kyle Ruona, Kansas City District public safety program manager. “None of these individuals were wearing a life jacket.”

The Kansas City District urges visitors to be prepared, understand the importance of water safety and to be alert to expect the unexpected.

“Whether kayaking, swimming or fishing, we want all our visitors to exercise good judgment when on or around the water,” said Angelia Lentz, Tuttle Creek Lake natural resource specialist. “We encourage everyone to wear a life jacket and to remember that boating and alcohol are a bad combination. We want all our visitors to have a great time, but the most important thing is their safety.”

Michigan Valley swim beach reopened; algae test shows negative results

VASSAR, Kan. – The U.S Army Corps of Engineers announced today, Aug. 24, 2018, that the Michigan Valley Park swim beach is back open after receiving negative test results for blue-green algae this week.

“The swim beach is back open,” said Scott Rice, operations manager for Pomona Lake. “Officials are still monitoring the lake and have placed the Management Boat Ramp in a watch status. We encourage visitors to be vigilant of lake signage and to understand conditions could change along with the weather.”

The swim beach was closed last week after what appeared to be blue-green algae was noticed in the beach area and around the dam. At that time, the Corps reported the most recent tests showed the presence of the toxin microcystin, but noted levels can increase or decrease on a daily basis. Hot and sunny weather conditions combined with high nutrient levels create ideal conditions for harmful algae bloom growth.

All swimming and wading while the algae is present is discouraged, and contact with the algae should be avoided. 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 those that eat dried algae along the shore may become seriously ill.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment will continue to monitor the lake and will update the status as conditions warrant. For more information contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Pomona Lake at 785-453-2201.

Blue-green algae closes Michigan Valley swim beach at Pomona Lake

VASSAR, Kan. – The U.S Army Corps of Engineers at Pomona Lake has announced the existence of a blue-green algae bloom at the Michigan Valley swim beach at Pomona Lake.

According to project operations manager Scott Rice, yesterday, Aug. 16, 2018, what appeared to be blue-green algae was noticed in the beach area and around the dam.

“Preliminary tests show the presence of blue green algae,” Rice said. “The beach will be tested Monday by KDHE but for safety reasons the beach has been closed.”

According to an announcement from the Corps, swimming will not be allowed at the Michigan Valley Swim Beach, and all wading and contact with algae is highly discouraged. Visitors are encouraged to use the beach located in Pomona State Park on the south side of the lake.

The Corps reported the most recent tests showed the presence of the toxin microcystin, but noted levels can increase or decrease on a daily basis. Hot and sunny weather conditions combined with high nutrient levels create ideal conditions for harmful algae bloom growth.

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 those that eat dried algae along the shore, may become seriously ill.

Boat ramps and lake activities are not affected at this time. 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.

Lyndon Leaders’ sunflowers bloom for everyone’s enjoyment

The Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club is inviting everyone to enjoy an Osage County sunflower field. The field is located eight miles north of Lyndon on U.S. Highway 75, and one mile east on 189th Street. The flowers are in full bloom until the end of August, so everyone is invited to enjoy the view, take some photos, and pick some flowers.

Travel back in time during Pomona State Park’s retro weekend

If you ever wanted to experience the great outdoors like they did back in yesteryear, this weekend is your chance. Step back in time during the Going Retro Car, Vintage Trailer And Antique Boat Show, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, at Pomona State Park.

According to the Friends of Pomona State Park, hosts of the weekend event, more than 50 vintage trailers have registered for the event, the largest group since the annual show began. Visitors can tour and see inside the vintage camping trailers, talk to the owners, and remember a long-ago time. Some of the trailers have been preserved as original, others have been renovated with more creature comforts, and some are “glampers” (glamorous camping). Spectators can vote for their favorites.

The car show this year includes additional trophies: People’s Choice, Rangers’ Choice, Top 5, Best of Eras (40s and older, 50s, 60s,70s, and 80s and newer), Best Original, and Best Car Club participation. The Rangers’ Choice award is a large metal cut-out of the winner’s own vehicle provided by local artist Ted Craig, owner of Prairie Fire Metal Arts.

For car show participants, registration begins at 8 a.m.; $15 for each car. After awards are presented, all cars will caravan for a cruise across the dam. Show vehicles are not required to pay the state park’s $5 daily car permit.

The fifth annual Going Retro Car, Vintage Trailer and Antique Boat Show is coordinated by Friends of Pomona State Park and Pomona State Park. The concession stand will open at 8 a.m. with coffee and LaMont Hill Restaurant cinnamon rolls.  The lunch menu will include hot dogs and pulled pork sandwiches.

Vehicle owners of all makes and models, car enthusiasts, vintage camping trailer owners, those interested in seeing the vintage camping trailers, and those just wanting to get some exercise outdoors are all invited. For more information, call Don or Zo Torrey at 785-806-2308.

Chamber names ‘yard of the month’ at Osage City

Dee Cason’s yard was recognized as “Yard of the Month” for August.

August marks the third month of recognizing Osage City’s “Yard of the Month”, sponsored by the Osage City Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber has announced that Dee Cason’s yard has been selected for the month of August. Even through the lack of rain and hot weather the past month, Cason has managed to keep her knock out rose bushes and flower beds surrounding her home looking beautiful. Her home is located at 231 Safford St., Osage City.

The Chamber’s Yard of the Month recognition is during the months of June through September. The selection of the yard takes place during the first few days of each month. In appreciation of the beauty and hard work for the selected yard, the home owners will receive a $25 Osage City Chamber Buck Certificate to be used at any Osage City business.      

Topeka Community Foundation presents grant for Landon Trail at Overbrook

A trailhead near Overbrook serves as the gateway to a section of the Landon Nature Trail developed in that area.

TOPEKA, Kan. – Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy has announced the Topeka Community Foundation has awarded a $10,000 Healthy Living grant for future development of the Landon Nature Trail, which stretches from Topeka to near Quenemo. KRTC said the grant will be used to develop another one-mile section of trail south of Overbrook.

“We appreciate the support the Topeka Community Foundation has shown for developing outdoor recreational opportunities,” said KRTC President Doug Walker. “Kanza is working to create a remarkable recreational trail which will provide a safe place for families to walk or bicycle away from traffic. People love trails. Trails are good for Kansas.”

The trail has a 38-mile right of way in various states of development. Currently, the trail is completed from the trailhead at 17th and Monroe streets, in Topeka, to the Clinton Wildlife Area for a distance of 13 miles, and a one-mile section at Overbrook.

The trail is a particularly scenic recreational trail, and when completed it will be the only recreational trail in America to link the Oregon National Historic Trail with the Santa Fe National Historic Trail.

Overbrook puts City Lake on warning status as blue-green algae bloom expected

Algae has begun to collect along the shoreline on the northwest side of Overbrook City Lake.

OVERBROOK, Kan. – Overbrook city officials have notified citizens that early signs of blue-green algae were discovered in the northwest corner of City Lake on Wednesday. According to the notification, Kansas Department of Health and Environment will be at the lake on Monday for testing. In the meantime, KDHE has recommended the lake be under watch status for this weekend, as there is a potential for a blue-green algae bloom.

During an algae bloom watch, people are advised to keep livestock and pets away from the water; use caution when contacting lake water and wash with clean water afterward; avoid areas of algae accumulation; don’t let people or pets eat dried algae or drink untreated lake water; and clean fish well and discard guts.

In case of harmful algae contact, it is advised to call a doctor or veterinarian if people or animals have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, irritated eyes, seizures, breathing problems or other unexplained illness.

Osage County sizzles in drought with scant rainfall, high temperatures

With Osage County and portions of Kansas under a state-issued drought emergency declaration, the federal government has authorized emergency grazing of some of the state’s Conservation Reserve Program acres. The governor had earlier authorized use of state lakes for water sources for counties designated in a drought emergency.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency announced today additional authorization of Conservation Reserve Program acres for emergency grazing for 44 counties in Kansas, including Osage County.

Earlier in the month, Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer issued a drought declaration for the state, which included all 105 counties in drought emergency, warning or watch status; 50 counties are in emergency status.

The declaration allows individuals and communities in counties in emergency stage to be eligible for use of water from certain state fishing lakes and some federal reservoirs. Anyone needing water from the designated lakes must contact Kansas Water Office for a water supply request prior to any withdrawals.

Likewise, eligible producers interested in emergency grazing of CRP must request approval through their local FSA before grazing eligible acreage, and obtain a modified conservation plan from the NRCS that includes grazing provisions.

The governor’s declaration is in effect until rescinded by executive order; emergency grazing of CRP is authorized through Sept. 30, 2018.

Officials cited livestock water shortages, low flows at some reservoirs, and outlook of persistent drought as reasons for the statewide drought declaration. Some areas of Kansas are behind more than 15 inches in moisture for the year, and outlooks indicate continuing above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation.

Corps issues public health warning for Melvern Lake’s Outlet Park campground, swim beach

The U.S Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday the existence of a blue-green algae bloom at the Outlet Park campground (River Pond) and swim beach downstream of Melvern Lake. Blue-green algae identification tests have confirmed the presence of the algae.

The most recent tests showed the presence of the toxin microcystin, but levels can increase or decrease on a daily basis. Hot and sunny weather conditions combined with high nutrient levels create ideal conditions for harmful algae bloom growth. Swimming is now prohibited at the Outlet Park swim beach, and all wading and contact with algae is highly discouraged.

Pet owners should 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 that eat dried algae along the shore may become seriously ill.

The present algae bloom is isolated to the Outlet Park River Pond and swim beach area below Melvern Lake. 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.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment will continue to monitor these public waters and will update the status as conditions warrant. For more information contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Melvern Lake at 785-549-3318.

Operation Dry Water surveils for boaters under the influence

Heightened awareness and enforcement slated for June 29-July 1

TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism game wardens will be on the lookout for boaters under the influence during Operation Dry Water, June 29-July 1, 2018. Operation Dry Water is part of a national effort to reduce accidents and fatalities related to boating under the influence of drugs and alcohol and educate recreational boaters about the dangers of BUI. While Operation Dry Water is a year-round national campaign, a heightened awareness and enforcement effort takes place around July 4th, a holiday known for the potentially deadly combination of drinking and boating.

KDWPT game wardens are responsible for patrolling the waters of Kansas and conducting boat accident investigations, boat safety inspections, BUI checks, safety programs, education classes and other boating-related activities. During Operation Dry Water, officers will be looking for boaters whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of 0.08. The weekend will include increased patrols, breathalyzer tests, life jacket checks and boater education.

Impaired boaters can expect to be arrested or face other serious penalties. In Kansas, the consequences for BUI include fines, jail and loss of boating privileges. During the 2017 Operation Dry Water in Kansas, game wardens issued 26 boating citations, 35 boating-related warnings and recorded two BUI offenses.

Kids can show off their water safety knowledge, win prizes in lake poster contest

The Melvern Lake Corps of Engineers is inviting kids to show what they know about water safety in this year’s water safety poster contest. Kids ages 6 to 13 are welcome to join the fun and create a poster promoting water safety.

Posters can be entered into any of these categories:

  • Wear your life jacket: Why is it important to wear your life jacket or personal flotation device?
  • Swim with a buddy: Why should you never swim alone?
  • Boat safety: What can you do or what should you bring to be safe on a boat?
  • Open division: What does water safety mean to you?

Artists can enter more than one category, but only one poster per category. Posters can be created using pens, pencils, markers, colored pencils, paint, or crayons. Include name, age, category entering, and contact phone number on back of each poster.

An 11 by 17-inch poster paper to use will be provided at the following locations – these locations are also the drop off areas of finished posters. If an 11 by 17-inch paper (preferably poster or cardstock type) is already available to youth, they are welcome to use that. Entries not on 11 by 17-inch paper will be excluded from the contest. Pick-up and drop-off locations: Lyndon Carnegie Library, Melvern City Hall, Osage City Public Library,  Coffey County Library, Waverly and Lebo branches, and Reading City Hall. Finished posters are due by July 20.

The entries will be judged on displaying correct water safety practices and reasons why, creativity, and clarity of the safety message being conveyed.

County extends expiration date of burn permits for 4 years

The Osage County Board of Commissioners recently passed a resolution that extends all burn permit expiration dates to Dec. 31, 2022. This will ensure that there is a uniform date for expiration of burn permits. All newly issued and current permits are now valid until that date.

The resolution also authorizes Osage County Emergency Management to issue a burn ban when fire districts or fire resources are overwhelmed by a large fire or multiple fire incidents.

Corps closes 110 Mile Park campground at Pomona Lake

VASSAR, Kan. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced the permanent closure of 110 Mile Campground at Pomona Lake effective May 1, 2018.

The closure was blamed on underutilization and projected budget restrictions. According to a statement from the Corps, the camping area, equestrian area, and nature trail will close in an effort to improve other park operating efficiencies and provide quality recreation opportunities for the public.

The day-use boat ramp facility at 110 Mile Park will remain open with no operational changes. Equestrian camping and a day use parking lot has been moved to Cedar Park, positioning the equestrian area in the middle of Black Hawk Trail.

Along with Cedar Park, 110 Mile Park was one of the last two free federal campgrounds located in Osage County.

For more information, contact the Pomona Lake Project Office at 785-453-2201. 

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