Category Archives: Outdoors

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 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.

Kansas invites all to test their luck during annual free fishing days this weekend

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has announced that anglers can fish without a Kansas fishing license at public waters during the state’s “Free Fishing Days”, June 1 and 2, 2019.

Each year, KDWPT designates one weekend when everyone can fish without a Kansas fishing license. All you need is a pole and a place to go! Free Fishing Days celebrates National Fishing and Boating Week, a week dedicated to recognizing the importance of recreational boating and fishing.

Flooding at some lakes and state parks shouldn’t derail fishing plans. There are still many great opportunities to fish at lakes large and small. Many more Kansas state parks are open for business than are closed. Fisheries biologists report that high water gives fish more habitat to exploit, so fishing may be better when the water is higher. As always, exercise caution around high water and respect barricades.

Survey teams deploy to assess storm damage in Osage and Douglas counties

In Osage City, following a thunderstorm that dumped rain and produced tornadoes across northeast Kansas Tuesday, citizens help a police officer stranded in high water on a city street. Photo thanks to Joann Baumann.

TOPEKA, Kan. – The National Weather Service has reported a damage survey team was deployed this morning, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, to assess tornado damage from Tuesday’s storms across Osage and Douglas counties. Damage assessments are expected to be completed later today.

NWS has forecast potential for a few isolated storms to develop across far east central Kansas this afternoon into early this evening. Any storms that develop may be strong to severe with hail and strong winds being the primary hazards.

Flooding on area rivers is expected to continue today through tonight, and is likely to persist into the weekend.

Rains and flooding bog down local state parks and Corps campgrounds

Earlier this week, Corps staff closed the main road just south of the Wolf Creek Park entrance, at Pomona Lake, and asked visitors to not drive around the barricade. USACE photo.

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has reported that recent frequent heavy rains are impacting some state parks in eastern Kansas. High water levels at area Corps reservoirs have flooded campgrounds, overtopped roads, closed boat ramps and beaches and dampened visitors’ enthusiasm for any outdoor activities.

In Osage County, campgrounds have been impacted at Pomona Lake and Melvern Lake due to high levels of retained water at those lakes. (See related story: Corps plans public meeting on high water conditions at Pomona and Melvern lakes) Recent rains have also affected the trail conditions on the Flint Hills Nature Trail.

Eisenhower State Park at Melvern Lake remains open as of May 22, 2019. The lake is 16.01 feet above conservation level, and outflow is 20 cubic feet per second minimum. The lake is projected to be 18.8 feet above conservation level by May 30. Park staff is shutting down all the electrical connections in Blackjack and Abilene campgrounds. Almost all primitive sites are underwater, and the beach and beach restroom are closed.

Corps of Engineers campgrounds closed at Melvern Lake include:

  • Arrow Rock: Sites 8-10, 12-15, 19 and 35-45 are closed through June 30, 2019; sites 6 and 7 are closed through June 20.
  • Coeur d’Alene: Sites 9-32 are closed through June 30.
  • Turkey Point: Sites 1-8 and 23 are closed through May 30; sites 9-22 are closed through June 30; site 30 is closed through May 28 (closure extension to come); Group Camp closed through June 30. More closures are expected in the Turkey Point Campground to come in the following days. Arrow Rock and Coeur d’Alene closure extensions possible. Should these sites come out from under water and be cleaned up before their closure end date, they will be opened up for reservations.
  • Outlet Park remains unaffected by this flood event.
  • All boat ramps have stopped charging fees and the courtesy docks have been pulled.

At Pomona Lake, Pomona State Park is open. The lake is 23.26 ft above conservation level, and outflow is 15 cfs minimum. The lake is about 9 feet from going over the spillway. The lake is projected to 26 feet above conservation level by May 31. The marina started moving all houseboats off the water as of Wednesday, and also shut down all electrical service to the marina area.

Big Bear Campground is closed. The Kansa shower building is closed. Staff is closing six sites on the marina side of Kansa Campground and all Kansa primitive sites. The park road to east side of the park is closed; the back gate is open on the county road.

Corps campgrounds closed at Pomona Lake include:

  • Wolf Creek Park – All sites remain closed and will be through the weekend. All reservations for Memorial weekend have been cancelled and fully refunded.
  • Michigan Valley Park – Loops A, B, C, D, E, F and G are closed, and will remain closed through the weekend.
  • Adams Grove and Cedar Park remain closed. Coon Creek crossing is still closed and will likely be through the weekend. All Corps boat ramps remain closed.

The Flint Hills Trail remains open with the surface firm in most locations.

Corps plans public meeting on high water conditions at Pomona and Melvern lakes

LYNDON, Kan. – Due to above average water levels being held in Melvern Lake and Pomona Lake, both in Osage County, Kan., the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District and lake project personnel will hold a public meeting 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 30, 2019, at Lyndon High School auditorium, 421 E. Sixth St., Lyndon, Kan.

District personnel will present a brief summary of current conditions, a description of how the Corps manages the system, the impacts on recreation and stakeholders, expected releases and overall outlook. Attendees will be invited to ask questions.

Frontier Extension plans June wildflower tour in Anderson County

Spider milkweed flowers.

Have you ever driven down the highway or maybe turned on to a gravel road just to look at the wildflowers that are scattered across a pasture? If you have, you probably wondered what some of those beautiful plants were. The Frontier Extension District will be offering an opportunity to learn about some of those plants during a wildflower and pasture tour at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 20, 2019, in southern Anderson County. Participants should meet at the Welda Community Building, located just west of state Highway 169 in Welda, Kan. From there the group will then convoy to the pastures.

Once at the location, participants will break into small groups, which will be led by a tour guide to tell about some of the wildflowers and answer questions. There is no need to RSVP and there is no cost to attend. Be advised that this tour will be over rough and uneven terrain, so anyone with limited mobility should plan accordingly. Bug repellent is also advised for ticks and chiggers.

Participants will learn about native wildflowers, pasture management, and maybe some about stocking rates.

For more information, contact Ryan Schaub, Frontier Extension District agent, at 785-448-6826.

KDHE waste tire program provides picnic tables, benches for Osage City parks

A convenient bench awaits resting tennis players and walkers, or just provides a place in Jones Park to sit and watch the world go by. Courtesy photo.

The city of Osage City recently learned it is a recipient of a Kansas Department of Health and Environment Waste Tire Grant. The city has used the $2,376 grant to purchase four picnic tables and four benches placed at the Jones Park ball fields, Osage City Aquatic Center, Lincoln Park and Huffman Park to increase public seating.

This is the second time Osage City has received the waste tire grant, in which recipients share 50 percent of the cost. A previous grant in 2015 provided picnic tables, benches and trail benches in the same areas as those recently placed.

New picnic tables provide extra seating at Huffman Park’s picnic shelter.

As a part of the grant stipulations, the city was required to install signage on the tables recognizing they were purchased through the KDHE Waste Tire Grant program.

The city purchased the tables and benches from Champlin Tire Recycling Inc., Concordia, Kan. The tables and benches are 100 percent recycled plastic and rubber composition. Those purchased in 2015 have proved to be durable, withstood the weather, and required minimal maintenance.

High water closes campgrounds and roads at area lakes

LYNDON, Kan. – Campers at Osage County lakes this weekend are facing high waters, closed campgrounds and a chance of more rain.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is urging campers and lake visitors to use caution around flood waters and high lake elevations after a round of nightly storms have saturated the area this week. At Melvern and Pomona lakes, officials have announced several campgrounds are closed due to retained water causing high lake elevations.

At Melvern Lake, campsites closed due to increased lake elevation include Turkey Point, Sites 1 through 26 and site 30; Coeur d’Alene, Sites 11 through 32; Arrow Rock, Sites 6 through 10, 12 through 15, and 35 through 45. Outlet Park is currently not affected. The lake level continues to rise.

At Pomona Lake, the Coon Creek Causeway between Michigan Valley Park and the Quarry area is closed due to high lake elevation. Access to Wolf Creek Park from Michigan Valley is closed. All sites in Michigan Valley A Loop, C Loop, G Loop, and Wigger Group Camp have now been closed due to high lake elevation. As of Wednesday, the pool elevation continued to rise at Pomona Lake.

The campsites are closed through Wednesday, May 15, 2019, although closure extensions are likely. Officials advised that anyone who has rented a campsite that is closed will receive a full refund. The Corps is no longer charging fees at boat ramps at these lakes and several Corps docks have been pulled out of the water.

NWS warns of flooding along Salt Creek

The National Weather Service in Topeka, Kan., has issued a flood warning for Salt Creek near Lyndon, Kan. The warning is in effect today, April 30, 2019, until Wednesday morning.

At 1:01 p.m. today, Salt Creek’s stage was 6.4 feet. Flood stage is 10.0 feet. Minor flooding is forecast with a rise above flood stage by late afternoon. The creek is expected to continue to rise to near 10.5 feet by early this evening. The creek will fall below flood stage by late evening. At the 10-foot 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 to manage your pond

As warmer weather moves in, it’s now time to start thinking about our ponds that we have neglected for the last several months. Whether you’re a fisherman who loves baking in the hot summer sun casting out line after line, or you have grandkids that love going swimming in your pond. Of course you could be a livestock owner that utilizes your ponds as a water source when we inevitably dry up this summer. Whatever the reason might be, we need to make sure that we manage our ponds for whatever activities we might enjoy.

The Frontier Extension District will be hosting a public meeting on farm pond management. The meeting will be 7 p.m. May 9, 2019, at the Anderson County Community Building, North Lake Road, Garnett, Kan.

The guest speaker will be Charlie Lee, K-State wildlife management specialist. Lee will discuss pond management, aquatic weed identification, herbicides and their application timing, and how to manage your pond for trophy fish. This meeting will be packed full of information. But don’t just come to listen, bring your questions with you, too.

If this sounds interesting to you, you are invited to learn how to manage your farm ponds. For more information, contact Ryan Schaub, Frontier Extension District, at 785-448-6826 or [email protected].

Burn ban in Osage County Thursday; NWS issues wind advisory

All burn permits in Osage County are suspended for today, Thursday, April 11, 2019, due to high fire danger caused by windy conditions. This is a no burn day with no outside burning allowed in Osage County. The permit suspension will be in effect until 8 a.m. April 12, 2019, but could be extended.

Osage County Emergency Management advises that the rangeland fire danger index will be in the high category this afternoon. High fire danger means fires can start quickly, spread furiously, and burn intensely. All outdoor burning should be avoided.

The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory in effect from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today. South winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts of 45 mph are forecast. A wind advisory means that sustained winds from 30 to 39 mph or gusts from 45 to 57 mph are likely. Steps should be taken to secure any lawn furniture or light weight objects. Smaller loose items may be blown around. Use extra caution when driving, which could be especially hazardous for those traveling in high profile vehicles.

For more information about the burn ban, contact Osage County Emergency Management at 785-828-3323.

Burn ban Wednesday: Wind and warm temperatures add up to fire danger

Osage County Emergency Management has issued a burn ban countywide for April 10, 2019. No outside burning is allowed, and all burn permits are suspended. The ban is in effect until 8 a.m. April 11, and may be extended.

A wind advisory is in effect throughout the day until 7 p.m., with south winds expected at 20 to 30 mph with gusts of 40 to 50 mph. National Weather Service predicts it will be mostly cloudy today with a high near 83. Tonight is expected to remain partly cloudy, with a low around 48; windy, with a south wind 25 to 30 mph decreasing to 15 to 20 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 35 mph during the evening hours.

For more information about the burn ban, contact Bryce Romine, Osage County Emergency Management director, at 785-828-3323.

Senate confirms Loveless as KDWPT Secretary

TOPEKA – Brad Loveless was confirmed by the Senate as Secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, April 5, 2019. Gov. Laura Kelly appointed him in January.

“Secretary Loveless is an experienced, respected leader of conservation and environmental programs in Kansas,” said Kelly. “I look forward to working with him to foster responsible stewardship of our natural resources and promote the state’s fantastic travel destinations and outdoor recreation opportunities.”

“I am grateful to Governor Kelly for the chance to lead an organization that I greatly respect and have worked with for many years,” said Loveless. “I have had the pleasure of getting to know many previous secretaries, as well as the biologists, land managers and administrative staff. They’re great people and I look forward to working with them to serve this wonderful state.”

Loveless joined the department after a 34-year career with Westar Energy, where he was most recently the senior director of environmental conservation and sustainability. Prior to that position, he was director of biology and conservation programs and earlier held environmental management positions at Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation. He also served as a leader of Westar’s Green Team, an active volunteer group of employees and retirees that helps with habitat improvement, environmental access and education, and enhancement of sensitive species. A fisheries biologist by training, he is an avid angler, hunter and beekeeper.

Frontier Extension, Lyndon Library to present container gardening class

The Frontier Extension District and Lyndon Library will host a meeting on container gardening at 6:30 p.m. April 10, 2019, at the library. This meeting will have a little bit for everyone. Maybe you are a vegetable lover that doesn’t have room for a garden in their back yard. Or maybe you are just wanting to dress up your front porch with some flowers or greenery to make your place more inviting. This meeting is for you.

Discussed will be selection of containers, and positives and negatives of different sized containers. Then we will talk about what to plant. Which of course depends on what your goals are. To cap it all off we will discuss applying fertilizer, watering and how to handle our hot temperatures during the summer months.

If this sounds interesting to you then please make sure to mark your calendar and plan to attend this meeting at the Lyndon Library, 127 E. Sixth St., Lyndon, Kan.

KDHE issues health advisory, safety tips for Flint Hills burning season

Smoke modeling tool activated

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 is vital to reduce impacts.

KDHE activated the Kansas smoke modeling tool on March 1, 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. On average there are approximately 2.3 million acres burned 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.”

Burn ban Wednesday: Wind, warm temperatures cause very high fire danger

Osage County Emergency Management has banned all outdoor burning due to very high fire danger today, Wednesday, March 27, 2019. A forecast of gusty winds this afternoon contributed to the rangeland fire index in the very high category for Osage County.

A county burn ban means no outside burning is allowed, and all burn permits are suspended until 8 a.m. March 28, unless the burn ban is extended. Very high fire danger means fire control will be very difficult and require extended effort.

The National Weather Service at Topeka forecasts today will be partly sunny, with a high near 72, and breezy, with a south wind 10 to 15 mph increasing to 20 to 25 mph in the afternoon.

For more information about the burn ban, contact Osage County Emergency Management at 785-828-3323.

Corps braces for more levee breaches as Missouri River flood heads downstream

KANSAS CITY, MO – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District declared a flood emergency along the Missouri River last week due to concerns resulting from heavy rainfall, saturated and snow-covered soils across the basin, and increased releases from upstream dams. The resulting effects pushed river stages into minor, moderate, and major flood stage at various locations along the Missouri River from Rulo, Neb., to St. Louis, Mo.

The Kansas City District Emergency Operations Center is currently operating at a level 2 partial activation, during which the Corps collects, evaluates, interprets and disseminates flooding information both internally and externally. The Corps continues to closely monitor the situation and reiterates that during this flood event that the public remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings.

The Corps is currently providing direct and technical assistance to local levee owners and operators and has dispatched liaison teams to work with both the Kansas Department of Emergency Management and the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency. The assistance includes providing sandbags and sandbag filling machines.

Four non-federal levees have breached in the Kansas City District’s area of responsibility. River stages are currently rebounding in and around Rulo, Neb., and St. Joseph, Mo. The water levels are dangerously high and present great risk to people, property and levee systems.

The flood crest will move downstream, expected to impact non-federal levees systems more than federal levees along the Missouri River.

Officials advise drivers to be cautious on local wet, sloppy roads

Local officials are asking everyone traveling on non-paved roads to slow down and use extreme caution. Non-
paved roads have become hazardous with the recent wet and rainy conditions in the Osage County area. With the wet weather expected to continue for the next couple of days, emergency management officials are asking drivers to please slow down, closely watch road conditions, don’t drive through flooded areas, and avoid non-paved roads whenever possible.

More moderate to heavy rain is expected to continue Tuesday evening and Wednesday.

For more information about this local travel advisory, contact Bryce Romine, Osage County Emergency Management director, at 785-828-3323, or 131 W. 14th St., Lyndon, Kan.

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