Vote: Statewide primary election Aug. 4, 2020, ballots federal, state, county offices

Kansas will hold a primary election Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, with state representative, state senate, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representative candidates on the ballot. The election will More »

COVID-19 update: County experiences weeklong relief

Osage County flattened its COVID-19 curve for the entire third week of the county’s phased reopening. In the first two weeks of July, the county appeared to be on More »

Eat Well to Be Well: It’s a berry good time of year

If a grocery store advertisement reads, “Today’s special: a food low in calories, no fat, full of fiber, may help prevent diseases, aids in weight loss, and tastes delicious,” More »

Gov. Kelly signs executive order mandating masks in public spaces

Simple, proactive way to keep Kansans safe, and keep Kansas businesses open TOPEKA, Kan. – Gov. Laura Kelly today issued Executive Order No. 20-52 requiring that most Kansans must More »

Dee Ilene Richman, 80, Topeka: March 1, 1940 – July 19, 2020

TOPEKA, Kan. – Dee Ilene Richman, 80, Topeka, Kan., passed away Sunday, July 19, 2020. She was born March 1, 1940, in Topeka, the daughter of Clarence and Nettie (Gifford) Helstorm.

On Sept., 4, 1955, she married Norman “Cowboy” Richman at the chapel on Forbes Field. She was a dedicated military wife while Cowboy was deployed in war with the Air Force.

James Harold Thurman, 82, Lyndon: Feb. 18, 1938 – July 17, 2020

LYNDON, Kan. – At the age of 82, James Harold “Jim” Thurman went to join the love of his life and best friend, Sandra, in the presence of the Lord on July 17, 2020. Sandra had gone ahead of him in 2017 after 60 years of marriage. Jim was born Feb. 18, 1938, in Jenkins, Mo., to Joel and Nellie Audrie Thurman.

Jim worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for 30 years in the Tulsa, Little Rock, and Kansas City districts.

Karen Sue Wessel, 62, Burlingame: Dec. 5, 1957 – July 18, 2020

BURLINGAME, Kan. – Karen Sue Wessel, 62, passed away on Saturday, July 18, 2020, at her home in Burlingame, Kan. She was born on Dec. 5, 1957, in Emporia, Kan., the daughter of Ted and Una Prost.

On June 30, 1989, Karen was married to Michael Wessel, in Burlingame.

Karen found happiness in baking and cooking for anyone and everyone. She had a garden every year and would can anything and everything she could to give to her family and friends.

Osage County Jail Log, July 12 – July 18, 2020

The following individuals were booked into the Osage County Jail in connection with charges or warrants as listed by the arresting agency.

Saturday morning stolen vehicle pursuit crosses county line, ends in arrest

The Osage County Sheriff’s Office has reported a stolen vehicle pursuit that began near Scranton Saturday morning led to the arrest of a suspect in Shawnee County. Sheriffs of both counties are asking nearby residents to report any property damage that resulted due to pursuit.

In a press release, the sheriff’s office said a report of a theft of a 2006 Ford F-150, trailer and Bobcat from a residence north of Scranton, Kan., came in about 7 a.m. July 18, 2020.

A deputy who was in the area noticed a dust trail going north from the residence. The deputy followed the dust trail and eventually located the stolen vehicle just inside Shawnee County. The deputy attempted to stop the vehicle, but the suspect refused to stop and a pursuit was initiated. In the 4500 block of SW Auburn, the pursuit was terminated due to the aggressive driving of the suspect.

A short time later the vehicle was located by Shawnee County Sheriff’s deputies and another pursuit was initiated. That pursuit proceeded eastbound on SW 37th Street and ended in 8000 block of 37th Street after the suspect drove off the roadway.

Conner C.J. Mundy, 25, Burlingame, was arrested without incident or injury and taken to the Osage County Jail, where he was booked on outstanding warrants, theft, and possession of stolen property. The truck, trailer, and Bobcat were returned to its owner.

The Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office is asking that anyone in Shawnee County that received property damage as a result of the pursuit, contact Cpl. Jason Mills at 785-251-2200. Any Osage County residents that received property damage, is asked to contact the Osage County Sheriff’s Office at 785-828-3121.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Lessons learned from carnivals

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“We’re still going to have a carnival but no other special entertainment for the fair.”

A county fair promotions lady commented about their plans when contacting her for advertising as in the past.

Memories of carnivals from varied aspects for nearly seven decades flowed freely during the cordial visit.

Before proceeding though, important to briefly acknowledge the many variations in typical local and more major fairs this year. Changing almost hourly, nothing is like the past due to serious health and politically-initiated concerns.

A few fairs will go on with slight medications, while many have canceled and the remaining will be vastly different.

School carnivals were always annually anticipated, as all elementary students were expected to sell advance tickets. To encourage sales each class had a contest with an award for the student selling the most 10-cent tickets.

Carrying cash box, Mr. Fisher the principal came soon after the bell rang each morning to collect ticket receipts. A big deal for a third-grader who literally made himself sick working to sell the most tickets. That blue plastic Planters Peanut cup prize remains on the bedroom shelf unknown whether it was really worth the effort.

All day students, teachers and parents set up the carnival in the gym with special attractions in each classroom. Of course, one dime ticket required for each of the fun opportunities, and it was essential to try everything.

Known COVID-19 cases in Osage County more than double in two weeks

Coronavirus cases continue to rise in Osage County, while the state of Kansas has been designated a hot spot for the disease in U.S. In July, the county has recorded more positive cases than in the previous months of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The steady rise in the known positive cases in Osage County comes after county commissioners formally rejected Governor Laura Kelly’s pandemic guidance and reopened the county on July 3, and after the county had some relief during a two-week period, June 9 to June 25, with no confirmed cases.

On July 1, 2020, Kansas Department of Health and Environment records show that Osage County had 15 total known cases since the pandemic began. The latest report from KDHE, dated July 16, shows Osage County now has had 33 total positive, averaging a little more than one new case per day during July.

OCHD reported on social media July 16 that two new confirmed positive cases brought the current active cases in the county to nine people. On that day, 36 people were under quarantine in the county. The county health department reports that 1,038 negative test results have been recorded in the county since testing began.

On July 2, Kelly ordered Kansans to wear masks when inside any public space or in situations where social distancing of six feet cannot be maintained. County commissioners had the option to adopt the measures, modify the measures or reject them. That afternoon, Osage County Commissioners held a special meeting and voted to exempt Osage County from the governor’s order.

OCHD reported the latest known positive cases were a person residing in the north part of the county and another in the south part of the county.

Last week, a document prepared for the White House Coronavirus Task Force was obtained by national media, which reported that 18 states were named in the report as “red zones,” including Kansas.

Osage County Senior Center: Thrift sale a success thanks to donors, volunteers, shoppers

By Tammy Fager, Director

Thrift sale – We would like to thank everyone that donated and helped and bought at the Osage County Senior Center thrift sale. It was a big success.

Ceramics – We have a small group of individuals that do ceramics at the center. We have a room for ceramics with a kiln in it. Currently they meet on Tuesday mornings but are open to meeting at other times. If you are interested in getting involved in ceramics or would like to take a look at their space, call the center 785-528-1170 or stop in 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Art and painting – Instructor Erin drives from Burlington for this class. We have several men and women that belong to this group. The projects are the individuals and some paintings are for sale at the center.

Sewing Chicks – On Mondays and Wednesdays the sewing chicks are working on quilts and other projects. Anyone is welcome to join this group. The Sewing Chicks do a lot. They sell the items they make and donate the money to the senior center, Meals on Wheels, and other organizations that need the items. At 1 p.m. Mondays, the Sewing Chicks change from sewing to crocheting, knitting, needle point or any other project they are working on. It’s called Threads Around the Table, and they work on their own projects and visit.

Commodities – Commodities are distributed the second Wednesday of every month.

Overbrook City Lake added to Kansas lakes blue-green algae watch list

TOPEKA, Kan. – Three Osage County lakes are on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s public health watch list due to blue-green algae, with Overbrook City Lake added to the list today. KDHE, in conjunction with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, also issued a public health warning today for Milford Lake Zone C.

On the state’s blue-green algae watch list in Osage County are Melvern Outlet Swim Pond, Melvern Outlet Pond, and Overbrook City Lake.

A watch means that blue-green algae have been detected and a harmful algal bloom is present or likely to develop. People are encouraged to avoid areas of algae accumulation and keep pets and livestock away from the water. During the watch status, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:

  • Water may be unsafe for humans and animals.
  • Avoid areas of algae accumulation and do not let people or pets eat dried algae or drink contaminated water.
  • Swimming, wading, skiing and jet skiing are discouraged near visible blooms.
  • Boating and fishing are safe. However, inhalation of the spray may affect some individuals. Avoid direct contact with water, and wash with clean water after any contact.
  • Clean fish well with potable water and eat fillet portion only.

When a warning is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:

  • Lake water is not safe to drink for pets or livestock. Lake water, regardless of blue-green algae status, should never be consumed by humans.
  • Water contact should be avoided.
  • Fish may be eaten if they are rinsed with clean water and only the fillet portion is consumed, while all other parts are discarded.
  • Do not allow pets to eat dried algae.
  • If lake water contacts skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible.
  • Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.

Osage County Jail Log, July 6 – July 10, 2020

The following individuals were booked into the Osage County Jail in connection with charges or warrants as listed by the arresting agency.

State insurance commissioner alerts consumers of improper charges for COVID-19 testing

TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas Insurance Commissioner Vicki Schmidt issued a consumer alert today regarding billing for COVID-19 testing. The Department’s Consumer Assistance Division recently became aware of situations in which federal law was not being followed related to COVID-19 testing.

“Providers and health insurers have a responsibility to ensure claims are processed correctly,” Schmidt said. “Kansans should pay special attention to any charges related to COVID-19 testing to ensure they are not improper. If you have been tested for COVID-19 and
have questions about charges, please contact the [insurance department] for assistance.”

Federal law requires COVID-19 testing without cost sharing (including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance) requirements or prior authorization or other medical management requirements, meaning most consumers should not be billed a separate provider or facility fee for receiving a COVID-19 diagnostic test.

Consumers are encouraged to closely review explanation of benefit statements from their insurer to make certain they do not have a cost sharing responsibility for a diagnostic COVID-19 test.

The Kansas Insurance Department has a Consumer Assistance Hotline, 785-296-7829 or 800-432-2484 to assist consumers who believe they were subject to an improper charge.

Chronic wasting disease confirmed in captive cervid herd in Osage County

First positive case in eastern Kansas

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Agriculture has confirmed a case of Chronic Wasting Disease in a captive cervid herd in Osage County, Kan., and is working with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to mitigate risk to the captive cervid industry as well as the local wild deer population in the area.

Though CWD has been detected in wild deer populations in many western Kansas counties, this is the first documented positive case in eastern Kansas and the first in a captive herd since 2001.

CWD is an infectious, degenerative disease of animals in the family cervidae (elk, deer, and moose) that impacts the animal’s brain cells, ultimately causing death. Only animals in the family cervidae are susceptible to CWD. Currently, there is no evidence that CWD poses a threat to humans.

The CWD-infected animal was born and raised on the premises in Osage County, where it was tested after being euthanized in late June. The affected premises have been placed under quarantine, and tracing and surveillance are underway on all animals that have moved into or out of this captive cervid herd in the last five years.

KDWPT will conduct additional surveillance of CWD in Osage County as part of the agency’s annual testing of wild deer taken during hunting seasons, and through a three-year, statewide research project set to begin this fall. KDWPT will use the data collected to develop CWD risk assessment maps and future surveillance, prevention, management, and regulatory efforts.

Owners of captive cervid herds in Kansas are encouraged to participate in KDA’s CWD Herd Certification Program. This program provides increased oversight via annual inventory reconciliation, identification of all cervids over one year of age on the premises, and CWD testing for all animal mortalities. Though certification is voluntary, only operations that have been CWD-certified for at least five years may legally move animals interstate. The infected Osage County animal was in a CWD-certified herd that had not received any animals from any operations that did not have equal or greater certification status.

2020 Osage County Fair Parade wrap up

By Jeanette Swarts
Osage City Chamber of Commerce

The annual Osage County Fair Parade, sponsored by the Osage City Chamber of Commerce, was Friday, July 11, 2020. The theme for the parade this year was All American Country Livin’.

The parade consisted of a variety of entries including the Boy Scouts of Osage City starting the parade as flag bearers, followed by emergency vehicles, including the city and county law enforcement, highway patrol, fire department.

Parade Marshal Gary Lowman and Mr. and Mrs. Osage City Joe and Thelma Humerickhouse were chauffeured along the parade route, with a variety of floats, golf carts and ATVs, car club, politicians, Shriners, antique tractors, horses and more following.

The kids’ decorated bicycle event was back for the second year. It was open to children up to the age of 12, who decorated their bikes, wagons, power wheels or scooters. Prizes were given to the decorated entries. The Chamber would like to thank Becky, Craig and Cameron Siljenberg for organizing the bicycle parade and also the First National Bank of Kansas, Sonic, Subway, Harmon Dental, Osage City Parks and Recreation, and Pizza Hut for their donations.

The Chamber also had a coloring contest with the selected entries getting to ride on the fire truck in the parade. The entries submitted were well done and the selection was difficult. Nine entries were selected and the winners were Max Hallgren, Jack Ferrer, Madyson Allen, Taylor Lickteig, Devyn Theel, Jordyn Lickteig, Kaylee Theel, Joanna Miller, and Laurel Lowery. All of the submitted entries are on display in the downtown old Duckwall’s store windows (Sixth and Market). The Osage City Chamber of Commerce would also like to thank the Osage City Public Library for distributing and collecting the pictures for the contest.

The float entry awards went to first place, $125, Conklin Plumbing; second place, $100, Community Covenant Church-Hangout; third place, $75, Friends of Pomona State Park; fourth place, $50, First National Bank of Kansas, The golf cart and atv entry awards went to first place, $30, Boyd and Gladys Woodyard; second place, $20, Salt Creek Fitness; third place, $10, April Peet.

The Osage City Chamber of Commerce would like to take this opportunity to thank those that participated in the 2020 Osage County Fair Parade.

COVID-19 update: New infections continue in Osage County

New COVID-19 cases continue to add up at a steady pace in Osage County, as the health department announced today four additional cases confirmed since its July 9, 2020, report. The county has confirmed a total of 29 positive cases since the pandemic began in March.

Osage County Health Department reported July 14, 2020, it is monitoring 11 active cases in the county, with 18 people reported as recovered from the disease. The department reported 49 people currently quarantined, and 1,006 negative tests recorded since testing began.

At least two school districts in the county have temporarily halted summer sports activities this week due to possible student athletes’ exposure to infected individuals.

See related story: USD 456 MdCV announces possible students’ exposure to COVID-19

Scan and share your historical photos of Osage County

The Osage County Historical Society has rescheduled its scan and share event for 1-4 p.m. Saturday, July 18, 2020, at the museum at Lyndon.

Anyone who has personal photographs, manuscripts, and other paper documents related to Osage County is invited to bring them to be digitized. The shared images will be available via the historical society’s digital collection to other researchers. Donors will receive a digital copy of their images for their own use.

Anyone who can’t attend but would like to share digital copies of historical photos of Osage County is asked to contact the historical society for details on how to submit them.

The event had been postponed due to the ongoing pandemic.

For more information, contact the historical society at 785-828-3477, or 631 Topeka Ave. Lyndon, Kan., or see

Zion Lutheran Church holds Confirmation

On Sunday, June 28, 2020, Zion Lutheran Church, Vassar, held Confirmation. For the past three years these confirmation students have attended weekly classes in preparation for this day. Confirmation students are, front from left, Allison Reeser, Kiefer Haney, and Jensen Sturdy, back, Dylan Haney, Caleb Anschutz, Pastor Joshua Woelmer, and Lyndall Whitten.

A Cowboy’s Faith: The weather will change

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“That weatherman sure doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

A dozen times in just a few hours similar comment has been heard.

Every forecast is different and changes within minutes.

Not a month ago: “All this rain sure makes grass grow, but dry days are needed to get something planted.”

Last week: “It sure is dry. The crops must have a rain or there won’t be anything at all.”

Thunder crashes, downpour rattles windows, road ditches and driveway potholes are overflowing with water.

First complainer: “The weather forecast was no rain for five days, so 100 acres of hay were swathed into the windrow.”

Another neighbor exclaimed, “Boy that was a nice rain last night, those soybeans should sprout and grow now.”

Follow-up grudging response, “But all of that hay will take forever to dry, especially with the humidity, no quality whatsoever.”

Farmer down the road, one of the few with wheat this year. “Crop’s ripe and no way to get in the field for days. The wind flattened some of it, too.”

Forecaster on the 6 o’clock morning Ag Roundup, “It’ll be dry and sunny, near record high, a slight breeze.”

At 7:30, loading the pickup to head to the field, completely cloud covered, sprinkles, wind bristling tree limbs.

USD 456 MdCV announces possible students’ exposure to COVID-19

MELVERN, Kan. – As Osage County enters the second week of  the final phase of its pandemic reopening plan, another school district in the county has temporarily halted summer sports activities after a group of students was possibly exposed to a COVID-19 infected individual.

USD 456 Marais des Cygnes Valley School District announced this afternoon, Saturday, July 11, 2020, administrators had been made aware today that a group of students was exposed to an individual outside the school district who later tested positive for COVID-19.

“Out of an abundance of caution, all summer conditioning/workouts have been postponed until Thursday, July 16, 2020. By that time, county health departments will have had the opportunity to perform contact tracing, fully inform the individuals involved and more conclusive information will be available to make potential further decisions. We appreciate your understanding and will continue to keep you updated as much as possible,” USD 456’s statement in a social media post said.

The district later noted drivers education and primary summer school will continue as scheduled.

Last week, USD 434 Santa Fe Trail announced activities at Santa Fe Trail High School, specifically summer weights and conditioning, would be postponed until Monday, July 13, due to possible exposure of student athletes to a person who was infected. The Osage County Health Department later reported a new positive case might have affected an athletic team in the county.

USD 434 provided guidelines for students who plan to resume activities Monday: Maintain six feet of separation, and masks and diligent handwashing encouraged. USD 434 students will undergo symptom and temperature checks by staff members.

USD 434’s latest update noted: “Your student should not attend if they have someone positive in the household, a pending COVID-19 test, have COVID-19 symptoms or fever in the last 72 hours, have known exposure, or have been quarantined.

“According to the CDC, COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.”

At the time of this post, the health department had not yet publicly confirmed the possible contacts at Marais des Cygnes Valley schools.

Eat Well to Be Well: It’s a berry good time of year

If a grocery store advertisement reads, “Today’s special: a food low in calories, no fat, full of fiber, may help prevent diseases, aids in weight loss, and tastes delicious,” would you buy it? I would hope so as this ad is talking about one of the most healthful foods nature provides – berries.

Berries are just about the perfect food to eat, whether fresh or frozen, and the variety to choose from is outstanding – blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cranberries, gooseberries, loganberries, raspberries, and strawberries.

Berries’ special power

Berries have been around as a food source for centuries. Their attractive appearance and delicate burst of sweetness has made them a favorite fruit even today. But, what distinguishes berries from other fruits is their health-boosting ability thanks to their rich and diverse antioxidant power.

Antioxidants reduce damage due to oxygen often caused by free radicals. Antioxidants include ascorbic acid (vitamin C), carotenoids, vitamin E and phenolic compounds, all found in berries – vitamin C and phenolic compounds are particularly abundant. Phenolic compounds include phenolic acids, flavonoids, tannins and resveratrol. Berries’ antioxidant power is that special boost in keeping us healthy.

Health department addresses recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Osage County

Editor’s note: The Osage County Health Department issued the following statement today in regard to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Osage County:

LYNDON, Kan. – The Osage County Health Department would like to make the community aware of a recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases in Osage County. There are currently 10 active positive cases in the county, with 77 people quarantined. To date, Osage County has had 25 positive COVID-19 cases, of which 15 have fully recovered. There are currently no patients hospitalized.

The recent increase has taken place over the last week, prompting the Health Department to issue this alert. (Note the number published by the Osage County Health Department may vary from that published by KDHE due to differences in publication times).

The positive cases and quarantines are mostly confined to the northern part of Osage County, that is, the area north of 205th Street, and including the towns of Carbondale, Burlingame, and Overbrook. In addition, many of the quarantines are a result of community gatherings in which an asymptomatic COVID-19 positive individual was in attendance.

Health Department staff recommends citizens take precautions to protect themselves and others from contracting the COVID-19 virus. Preventative measures include social distancing, wearing a mask when in public settings, washing hands frequently, and staying home if you are sick or have a weakened immune system. In addition, staying away from large public gatherings, larger cities, or travelling to areas that have a high rate of transmission (currently Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina, cruise ships, or international travel) is advised.

Osage County residents can stay informed by visiting:
Osage County Health Department Facebook Page:
Osage County COVID-19 Facebook Page:


For more information about COVID-19 in Osage County, contact the Osage County Health Department at 785-828-3117, [email protected], or 103 E. Ninth St., Lyndon, Kan.

More Osage Countians quarantined: 4 more COVID-19 cases confirmed

OSAGE COUNTY, Kan. – Osage County recorded four more COVID-19 cases overnight after the county health department announced yesterday a student athletic team in the northern part of the county has been affected by an infected individual.

Osage County Health Department announced this morning the county now has 10 active and 15 recovered cases in the county after announcing yesterday 7 active and 14 recovered. As of today, the health department reports 77 people in the county are under ordered quarantine.

The health department did not report personal details of the newly infected individuals.

The increases in the county come after county commissioners implemented the final phase of the county’s COVID-19 reopening plan and rejected Gov. Laura Kelly’s emergency restrictions order last week.

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