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Meet a local 4-Her: Avery Theilen loves her bucket calf; calf loves watermelon

Avery Theilen has been in 4-H for three years and is a member of Willing Workers 4-H Club. Avery has served as a recreation leader for the club.

Avery has taken her bucket calf, Muffin, to the fair, and has entered exhibits in the visual arts category. Her favorite 4-H activity this past year was showing Muffin at the fair.

Her favorite 4-H experience: Making people laugh when I told them my bucket calf likes watermelon and strawberry popsicles. She does love them!


Celebrating 4-H Week
Oct. 4-10, 2020

Meet a local 4-Her: Isabella Reeser gets a little chirpy about her birds

My name is Isabella Reeser, and I’m a member of the Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H club. This is my third year in 4-H and my third year in poultry.

It all started in April of 2017; my mom and dad gave me six chickens for my seventh birthday. My dad built a pen for them, and my sister and I learned how to take care of chickens. So when October 2017 rolled around, and I FINALLY got to be in 4-H, chickens was one project I wanted to be in! Every day my sister and I feed, water, and tend to my chickens (and her ducks).

About May 2018, my mom and I began watching YouTube videos trying to figure out how to show and what all preparation goes into showing chickens. We learned how to properly bathe them, dry them, show them, put them in and out of cages, and even what I was to wear during the showing.

Fast-forward to spring of 2020, my sister and dad built an incubator, and I was able to hatch one of my Bantam’s eggs, which I chose to be my show chicken for this 4-H year. Then as a surprise for my birthday, my grandparents bought me six Ancona ducks. At the Osage City fair, I took my Bantam, who received grand champion chicken and grand champion bird in the poultry division. My Ancona duck received reserve grand champion duck, and my Brown Leghorn chicken received reserve grand champion chicken and reserve grand champion bird overall. While there I participated in showmanship with my Bantam, earning reserved grand champion.

This year I was FINALLY old enough to take projects to the Kansas State Fair! On Sept. 5, my mom, sister, and I traveled to Hutchison and the Kansas State Fair. My Ancona duck and Brown Leghorn both received a blue, and my Bantam received a red.

While there, I was also a member of the Frontier District poultry judging team, where we place third as a team.

I can’t wait till next 4-H year to show my birds again!

Celebrating 4-H Week
Oct. 4-10, 2020

Meet a local 4-Her: Garrett Croucher, thankful for community support for livestock shows

Garrett Croucher and his Duroc, Boss Hawg.

Garrett Croucher is an 8-year 4-H member, and is the reporter for Willing Workers 4-H Club.

Projects taken to the fair this year included beef and market swine.

His favorite activities this year: Going to the pig shows with my Duroc, Boss Hawg.

Garrett’s best experience this year in 4-H: I am glad that we were able to show our animals this year. I enjoy showing and spending time with friends. I earned the Overall Reserve Champion Market Hog at the Osage County Fair, in Osage City, with Boss Hawg. It has been a very rewarding year for me, also. We were able to participate in both fairs and able to sell our animals with the support of the community. I am thankful for those people.

Celebrating 4-H Week
Oct. 4-10, 2020

Meet a local 4-Her: Grace Croucher’s animals are her 4-H rewards

Grace Croucher and her steer, Wilson.

Grace Croucher is an eight-year 4-H member and currently serves as vice president of the Willing Workers 4-H Club.

Projects taken to the fair: Due to the uncertainty of the world, I only took beef and swine to the fair.

Favorite activities this year: Helping other 4-Hers with their projects, expanding my swine nutrition skills, and the opportunity to show my steer Wilson at the Kansas Classic Show, in Hutchinson, as well as the few spring shows we were able to attend before the fair.

Best experiences this year in 4-H: The opportunity COVID-19 gave me to spend time with Wilson, my steer, and my six show pigs. I am proud to have earned Grand Champion Senior Beef Showman and Grand Champion Market Steer with Wilson, in Osage City.  And also raising, feeding, and showing the Overall Grand Champion Breeding Gilt, Grand Champion Duroc Gilt, Reserve Champion Duroc Gilt, and the Overall Reserve Champion Market Hog, at the Overbrook Osage County Fair.

It has been a very rewarding year for me and I am thankful for the mentors in my life.  I hope that I can be a good leader for the younger 4-Hers and help them to make the best better!

Celebrating 4-H Week
Oct. 4-10, 2020

Judging poultry at the Kansas State Fair

By Bella Reeser

On Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, Grady Fredrickson, Mara Dreiling, Allison Reeser, and Bella Reeser traveled to Hutchison, Kan., to compete at the Kansas State Fair poultry judging competition. The four youth went through six stations, judging everything from egg production to carcass quality. As a team they finished third place overall, with Mara Dreiling placing second as an individual.

Celebrating 4-H Week
Oct. 4-10, 2020

Hidden History: Vassar schoolhouse stands as monument to one-room education

Student photo of Vassar School 1939-40. Wendi Bevitt collection.

Throughout the countryside, remnants of schools of a bygone era dot the landscape. The one-room schoolhouse was the core of not only its surrounding community’s education but also a social center supported by its citizens. Sometimes the only public building in the area was the town’s school. On the edge of Vassar, Kansas, the town’s one-room schoolhouse still serves as a center of the community.

The first schoolhouse for Vassar, District 68, was located on a farm northwest of the modern day town site. A second school was built in 1884 closer to the center of the school district, a half mile northeast of what would become the town in 1887. When Pete Peterson gave land to the community in 1912 to be used for stockyards and a depot, part of it was set aside for a new school.

In 1913, the town moved ahead with its plans for a new school and requests for bids were sent out to the surrounding area. Merchant and aspiring architect Clarence Silven, of Osage City, submitted the plans chosen for the school, competing against firms from Ottawa and Topeka. Clarence also created successful plans for Osage City’s Swedish Lutheran church and the high school at Reading.

Frank Cargey, of Baldwin, was selected for the carpentry work and A. M. Duty, of Melvern, was chosen to do the concrete and brick work. As bricks emerged as a building material for schoolhouses, the sturdy material made it the style of choice. Vassar’s second school was torn down and much of the material was reused for the new building. Total cost for the new Vassar school was $3,299.

The year the Vassar school was completed, 54 percent of teachers and 42 percent of pupils in the state were in one-room schoolhouses. One-room schools typically had two teachers that split the responsibilities of teaching the different age levels. Back then, schoolteachers’ professional lives only lasted on average about four years, but they were at the core of social improvements in their communities.

Meet a local 4-Her: Allie Reeser, poultry keeper and friend

My name is Allison Reeser, and I’m a member of the Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club. This is my sixth year in 4-H and my third year in poultry.  In 2017 for my birthday, I received four babies, Cayuga ducklings.  My dad built them a pen, and I began taking care of them every day.

In the spring of 2019, I received five more baby Cayuga ducks. Even though we have had to increase their pen sizes more and more, I love my ducks!  This past spring, for my birthday, I received eight violet guineas to add to my flock. I also built an incubator with my dad, and I hatched my very own Cayuga duck! This drake would be my show duck for the year.

I have enjoyed the experiences from all the shows and contests I have learned from, so this year we planned to add even more shows to our schedule; but due to COVID-19, the spring shows were all canceled.  It wasn’t until the Osage County Fair at Osage City that I was able to show again.

My duck received grand champion at the Osage County Fair, my guinea received a blue, and our pet brown leghorn chicken (I use for showmanship) received a blue.  I also earned grand champion in showmanship.

With the confidence I am beginning to gain in showing, I decided to take it to the next level and show my drake Cayuga duck at the Kansas State Fair. At the state fair, I received a blue on my Cayuga drake, and our poultry judging Team received third place overall.

I am looking forward to continuing to expand my poultry knowledge and my flock.  I can’t wait to see what next year holds for me in poultry!

Celebrating 4-H Week
Oct. 4-10, 2020

Meet a local 4-Her: Tyler Williams, making friends at the fair

Tyler Williams is a member of the Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club. His favorite projects taken to the fair are his swine.

Favorite 4-H activity of the last year was riding on the float the Lyndon Christmas parade and drinking hot chocolate and throwing bags of chips. His best 4-H memory this year was “playing with my new friends at the fair.”

Celebrating 4-H Week
Oct. 4-10, 2020

Meet a local 4-Her: For Allie Kneisler hard work leads to fun at fairs

My name is Allie Kneisler and I just finished my fifth year of 4-H. I am a member of the Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club and the club president. I am also the treasurer for the 4-H Council. I really enjoy 4-H and have learned a lot in the last five years.

This year was a little disappointing as a lot of 4-H things were canceled or moved to online. I did participate in an online judging contest which was different. I also participated in the fashion review this year.

This year I worked hard and finished two quilts and a pillow to take to the fair. I also made a wildlife poster and made a quilt rack for my quilts in woodworking.

I like working with the animals and showing them at the fairs. I really like showing my goats at the fair and plan to show them at the Kansas Junior Livestock Show.

I think my favorite thing about 4-H is the club meetings and spending time with my friends at the fair.

Celebrating 4-H Week
Oct. 4-10, 2020

Ethan Kneisler: 4-H ambassadorship offers opportunity to learn by teaching

Ethan Kneisler, a six-year member of 4-H, president of the Osage County 4-H Council, and treasurer of the Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club, is also part of this year’s Osage County 4-H Ambassadors team. He shared some of his ideas about the new ambassador program:

“I really like being an ambassador, because I think it’s different than what everybody else is doing around us,” he said. “I also like that we can work as a team to get projects done faster than when we just had a king and queen.

“I really like talking to people when we go to 4-H events. The highlight of my summer is seeing the younger kids enjoy their projects at the fairs. I see the 4-H program as an unique learning opportunity for youth. It is a different learning environment than what most youth experience in a classroom setting.

“In 4-H we ‘learn by doing.’ Youth and adult partnerships provided a safe learning environment to learn from those that are experts in their field of work. Youth can learn so much by talking to people, interacting with one another, and having fun at the same time.”

4-H Week: Oct. 4-10, 2020

Josie Thompson: Transforming into a leader as 4-H ambassador

Hello, I am Josie Thompson. I am a member of the Willing Workers 4-H Club. I have been a member for 11 years. I joined 4-H in the second grade; it has enriched my life in countless ways. I encourage anyone to join, it’s surprising what all it can offer to you. 4-H has taught me leadership and communication skills, and a strong work ethic.

This year I am a 4-H ambassador. Even though the year has just begun, I am confident we will accomplish many things. This is the first year that Osage County will have an ambassadors group – originally we had a 4-H king and queen. In 2018, I was the Osage County 4-H Queen and I had such a blast. I experienced so much and met a lot of great people.

The ambassador program is for two years. Within the two years, you will meet many people and experience things that you will carry with you forever.

This summer at the fairs we were able to pass out ribbons, and we should all be thankful that we had the opportunity to still do that. The ambassadors are also planning to attend several leadership camps to help us grow and become a closer team.

This year as an ambassador and as a senior, I hope to learn more about what I truly want to do in the future, and I am confident that 4-H will help guide me in the directions of opportunities.

There is always something out there to help spark your fire, and that’s why I encourage you to join 4-H. It’s not too late!

4-H Week: Oct. 4-10, 2020

Osage County plants 4-H youth ambassador program to grow leaders

Osage County 4-H Ambassador Team, from left, Ethan Kneisler, Kinsley Garrison, and Josie Thompson. Courtesy photo.

Frontier Extension District created an Osage County Ambassador Team during the 2019-2020 program year. It was a decision of the 4-H Council to provide a unique leadership opportunity for Osage County youth. To become an ambassador, the youth went through an application process and interview.

This year provided its challenges to accomplish the goal of getting the team established by the summer. Using email, Zoom, and phone calls to move forward while sheltered in place, staff set up zoom interviews with all the youth.

“As 4-H staff we were amazed at the youth’s resiliency,” said Jessica Flory, Frontier Extension 4-H Program Assistant. “They never missed a beat.”

The council elected three youth to serve on the 2019-2020 Ambassador Team, Ethan Kneisler, Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club; Josie Thompson, Willing Workers 4-H Club; and Kinsley Garrison, North Osage 4-H Club. The team has already been busy this summer helping with activities at the fair.

The 4-H Council plans the ambassador program to to help develop youth leadership skills. Leadership is a skill that can be learned, and to become great leaders one must practice those skills. Look forward to watching this program grow in Osage County.

Osage County swears in Wells as new sheriff

Officially taking office Sept. 30 were Osage County Sheriff Chris Wells, right, and Undersheriff Scott Brenner, left, after being sworn in by Judge Taylor Wine.

Osage County’s chief judge swore in a new sheriff and undersheriff Wednesday in front of a small crowd gathered on the Osage County Courthouse lawn, after a governor’s appointment made swiftly due to the former sheriff’s retirement effective Sept. 30, 2020.

Fourth Judicial District Chief Judge Taylor Wine presided over a brief ceremony Wednesday to swear in Chris Wells as the new Osage County Sheriff.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly had officially appointed Wells last Friday after the Osage County Republican Central Committee met Sept. 24 to make the nomination. Osage County Sheriff Laurie Dunn had announced her retirement at the Sept. 14 meeting of the Osage County Commissioners.

Wine also administered an oath of office to new Osage County Undersheriff Scott Brenner, who was appointed by Wells.

Leading Lyndon with community pride

The Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club purchased some mums and spent Tuesday evening planting them at Lyndon High School, Lyndon Carnegie Library, and the Lyndon City Hall. Photo thanks to Kristin Kneisler.

Wells selected as Republican committee’s nominee for Osage County Sheriff

Osage County Republican Central Committee met Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, to select a nominee for interim sheriff to fill the unexpired term of the current sheriff, Laurie Dunn, who has announced her retirement will be effective Sept. 30, 2020. By a vote by acclamation, Chris Wells was selected as the committee’s nominee for the sheriff’s position. The nomination will be sent to Gov. Laura Kelly for official appointment, after which Wells will be sworn in as Osage County Sheriff.

Wells won the Republican primary race for sheriff, defeating Dunn. The sheriff’s race will be finalized during the Nov. 3 general election.

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