Category Archives: Outdoors

Blue-green algae warnings lifted for all Osage County lakes

TOPEKA – All lakes in Osage County that were previously under watch or warning status for blue-green algae have been cleared by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

The two agencies lifted the warning and watch for Melvern Outlet Pond and Carbondale West Lake this week; they were the two remaining lakes in Osage County under the algae alert.

In northeast Kansas, the agencies have issued a public health warning for Frazier Lake in Grant County for the upcoming weekend and week, and South Lake Park, Johnson County, remains under a watch status.

Several lakes in Osage County experienced blue-green algae blooms over the summer, including Carbondale West Lake, Melvern Outlet Pond, Melvern Outlet Swim Pond, Overbrook City Lake, Overbrook City Kids Pond, and Pomona Lake.

If a lake is under a public health warning for blue-green algae, activities such as boating and fishing may be safe. However, direct contact with water, such as wading, skiing and swimming, is strongly discouraged for people, pets and livestock.

Two area lakes remain under health warning for blue-green algae

TOPEKA, Kan. – All except two Osage County lakes that were previously under a blue-green algae warning or watch have now been released from the public health advisories. Carbondale West Lake and Melvern Outlet Pond remain under a warning status for the algae, with activities at those lakes still restricted.

Toward the end of the summer, several area lakes were under either warning or watch status for blue-green algae. The warning or watch status has now been lifted for Melvern Outlet Swim Pond, Overbrook City Lake, Overbrook City Kids Pond, and Pomona Lake.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism issue the public health warnings for Kansas lakes.

If a lake is under a public health warning for blue-green algae, activities such as boating and fishing may be safe. However, direct contact with water, such as wading, skiing and swimming, is strongly discouraged for people, pets and livestock.

Lakes under a warning are not closed. If swim beaches are closed, it will be specifically noted. Drinking water and showers at parks are safe and not affected by algae blooms. Boating and fishing are safe on lakes under a warning but contact with the water should be avoided. Hands should also be washed with clean water after handling fish taken from an affected lake.

Land and water stewards sought for annual conservation awards

Tallgrass prairie in the Kansas Flint Hills. Photo USFWS.

The Kansas Conservation Awards Program, sponsored by the Kansas Bankers Association, will once again be held in Osage County. The KBA, K-State Research and Extension, and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and Tourism have established six award categories, including energy conservation, water quality, water conservation, soil conservation, windbreaks and wildlife habitat.

The purpose of the program is to stimulate a greater interest in the conservation of agricultural and natural resources of Kansas. Each year more than 200 Kansas producers and landowners are recognized through this program. Nominations for these awards can be made by any person in the county. Information about these awards can be picked up at the local Extension office or by visiting the K-State Research and Extension website: www.agronomy.kstate.edu/extension.

Nomination forms are available at the Osage County Conservation District office or the Frontier Extension District office in Lyndon, the Bank of Burlingame or the Bank of Osage City. Or contact the Extension office at 785-828-4438 for a nomination form to be mailed to you. Nomination forms should be completed and returned to the Frontier Extension District, PO Box 400, Lyndon, KS 66451, by Oct. 31, 2018.

Upon receipt of the nomination forms, a committee chaired by Rod Schaub, Frontier Extension District agent, will select this year’s winners. Winners will be recognized at the Osage County Conservation District’s annual meeting.

Shooting sports team represents Frontier District at 4-H state shotgun competitions

Four members of the Osage County shooting sports program and one member of the Franklin County shooting sports program were among representatives of the Frontier Extension District at the recent 4-H State Shotgun Match. Osage County members include Cody Atchison, JD Schoepflin, Bobby Quaney and Dylon Harris. Carlos Santoya is the fifth member of the team from Franklin County.

All five members shot for an individual score for trap, skeet and sporting clays. Their five scores were also combined for team scores in each discipline and for an overall team score. The team finished the contest taking 36th place out of 120 teams in the shotgun grand aggregate score, while finishing 13th in trap, 11th in skeet, and fifth in sporting clays. Several team members also had personal successes in the matches. (Results are available through the K-State website here.)

State 4-H Trap and Skeet was held Oct. 6, 2018, at Ark Valley Gun Club, near Wichita, Kan., and State Sporting Clays shoot was held Oct. 7, 2018, at Murphy and Sons, in Augusta, Kan.

This is the first time in recent years that Osage County or the Frontier District have had enough shooters qualify to enter as a team. Local 4-H shooting sports instructor Robert Quaney has volunteered many hours to help the team practice and prepare for the local qualifying events in preparation for the state shoot.  

NWS issues flood warning for Salt Creek at Lyndon

The National Weather Service in Topeka has issued a flood warning for Salt Creek near Lyndon, which will be in effect from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon.

NWS reported that at 11:32 p.m. Monday the stage of the creek was 5.5 feet; flood stage is 10 feet.

Minor flooding is forecast, with the creek expected to rise above flood stage by early afternoon Tuesday and continue to rise to near 10.3 feet by Tuesday evening. The creek will fall below flood stage by early Wednesday morning.

The impact expected at the flood stage of 10 feet is minor low land flooding that usually begins in a farm field just west of the U.S. Highway 75 bridge.

It’s autumn, watch for deer on roadways

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

“The deer population has stabilized over the last six years, so areas that have had deer likely still have them,” said Levi Jaster, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism big game biologist. “This time of year, young animals are dispersing to find new places to live and breeding season is approaching. More animals on the move means more of them will be crossing roads, so be extra cautious in areas with good deer habitat.”

According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, 10,226 (17 percent) of the 58,834 vehicle crashes reported in 2017 were deer-related (crashes in which a deer and vehicle actually collided or the presence of a deer was a contributing circumstance). Crashes involving deer occur in every part of the state throughout the year. In 2017, Butler County had 438 vehicle-deer crashes, the most of any county, while Sedgwick County followed with 385 vehicle-deer 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 Jennifer Haugh, public and government affairs manager for AAA Kansas. “Of the animal strikes reported by AAA insurance policy holders in 2017, the average cost per claim was more than $4,500.”

A spokesman for the Kansas Highway Patrol cautions drivers to refrain from making exaggerated maneuvers to avoid a deer in the road, which can make the situation worse.

“If you are unfortunate enough to have a deer enter the highway in front of your car, it is best to hit the animal and not swerve to avoid it,” said the KHP Lt. Adam Winters. “Often, we find more serious crashes occur when you swerve to miss the deer, potentially losing control of your vehicle, leaving the road or veering into oncoming traffic.”

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.

Old World Bluestem: What is it? Why be concerned?

Osage and Coffey County conservation districts with local Kansas State Research and Extension units have teamed up to inform the public about the hazards of old world bluestem. A public meeting on the topic will be held 10:30 a.m.-noon, Oct. 8, 2018, at a pasture site in southern Osage County.

Producers will have an opportunity to identify old world bluestem, see areas where old world bluestem was controlled by recommended herbicides, ask questions to specialists about the recovery of the native grass species or the need to reseed. A free hotdog and chip lunch will be available.

Two local producers will discuss their control applications. Walt Fick, KSU range management specialist, will talk about the origin of old world bluestem, why we should be concerned, help with plant identification, and outline control options. Scott Marsh, of Kansas Department of Agriculture Plant Protection and Weed Control, will give the state’s current view of old world bluestem as a possible noxious weed. Robert Harkrader, with Quail Unlimited, will discuss how it negatively affects the quail population.

While these grasses are called bluestem they are not closely related to big bluestem or little bluestem. Old world bluestems are a group of introduced grasses from southeast Soviet Union, Turkey and surrounding areas. The old world bluestems are survivors of centuries of overgrazing. They are drought tolerant, aggressive, prolific seed producers, and are unpalatable compared to our native species. When pastures are overgrazed or stressed by drought, the old world bluestem invade into our native range and reduce the productivity of our pastures. Once old world bluestem invades a pasture the control currently used is herbicide.

Pomona State Park to celebrate fall with arts and crafts show, chili cookoff

Pomona State Park will be celebrating the coming of fall with a festival at the park on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. An arts and crafts vendors show will be held 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and a chili cookoff will begin at 5 p.m. Activities will be at the Southwind Shelter House.

This is a free event and no vehicle permits are required. Everyone is invited to the arts and crafts show and to enter their best chili recipe; prizes will be awarded to winners.

The festival is sponsored by Friends of Pomona State Park.

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.

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.      

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