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Annual Soup-a-Thon helps stock food pantry shelves at Help House

St Patrick’s Church, Scranton, named as winner of annual competition

Help House has announced the winners of its annual Souper Soup-a-Thon food drive. St Patrick’s Church, Scranton, took first place and the gold award with a donation total of 468 items, soup and crackers.

In second, for the silver award, was Overbrook United Methodist Church, with a donation of 367 items. The third place bronze award went to Christian Church Fellowship, Carbondale, with 248 items.

Help House’s annual soup drive pits churches against churches to see which can collect the most cans of soup and other food items to help stock the food pantry.

Honorable mentions went to other contributors in the competition, Community Covenant Church, Osage City, First Baptist Church, Lyndon, St. Patrick’s Church, Osage City, and United Methodist Church, Melvern, which together gathered 629 items. The overall total was 1,712 items, and included many cans of soup, boxes of crackers, and other food items for Help House’s food pantry.

Help House offers a big thank you to everyone who donated to the food pantry during this year’s Soup-a-Thon.

Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club plans picnic table refurbishment project

By Club Reporter Bella Reeser

At 4 p.m. Sunday, March 5, 2023, at the McNally House, the Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club met. Under the guidance of club leader Caleb McNally, together the members refurbished one of the picnic tables from the Melvern fairgrounds.  At 5:04 p.m., the club’s  meeting was called to order by President Gradey McNally. The club began the meeting with The Pledge of Allegiance and 4-H Pledge led by Gradey.

Reporter Bella Reeser called the roll; members and parents were to answer with, “Would you rather jump in a pool of chocolate pudding or strawberry ice cream?” There were six members and six adults present. Bella read the minutes from the previous meeting; they were approved as read. There was no correspondence.

Treasurer Landon Roy read the treasurer’s  report; it was approved as read. Bella said she submitted three article to the newspaper. In historian’s report, Historian Levi Arb read the History of 4-H. In council report, council member Braelyn McNally reminded club members Blue & Gold orders will be delivered March 13; Regional Club Days will be March 25, at Gardner; Beef weigh in will be 4-6 p.m. March 29  at Overbrook fairgrounds; small animal weigh in will be4-6 p.m. May 2, at Osage City fairgrounds; drop or add deadline is May 1; Osage City fair will be July 7-9; Overbrook fair will be Aug. 2-5. There will be a fair grievance policy this year. In leader’s report, leaders Caleb McNally and Lisa Reeser reminded club members to enroll in the new 4-H year.

There was no old business. In new business, a motion was made and seconded to hold the Melvern Easter Egg Hunt again this year at 1 p.m. April 8, at Melvern City Park. It was discussed, then a motion was made and seconded for the club to refurbish the remaining two tables at the Melvern fairgrounds before the Melvern fair.

In program, Braelyn gave her speech on the beef industry, and Gradey gave his multimedia presentation on composting. In songs, song leader Gentry McNally led the group in singing “Red Kingdom”. At 5:27 p.m., it was moved and seconded to adjourn the meeting.

Melvern Jr. Highline’s next club meeting will be 5 p.m. Sunday, April 2 at Melvern Community Center. Members enjoyed snacks provided by the McNally Family. For recreation, members and parents enjoyed the playground equipment at the McNally house.

Library presentation to celebrate women educators of Osage County

In honor of Women’s History Month, local historian Wendi Bevitt will bring to light stories of four women who had a passion for education, and impacted the youth of Osage City, Osage County, and beyond. Bevitt’s presentation will be 6 p.m. Thursday, March 30, 2023, at the Osage City Public Library

Bevitt uncovers history on the Great Plains daily through her business Buried Past Consulting. She lived in Osage County for 20 years and is passionate about the history of her adopted county.

March is celebrated as Women’s History Month to commemorate and encourage the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.

For more information, contact Jeanette Stromgren at 785-528-3727, or stop by the library at 515 Main St., Osage City, Kan.

Limited time only – Kansas Tobacco Quitline offers 8 weeks of nicotine replacement therapy

TOPEKA, Kan. – For the first time in the 20-year history of the Kansas Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, is offering all phone coaching enrollees eight weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy while supplies last.

Participants who are 18 years and older that want to quit smoking, vaping or chewing tobacco, and enroll in the phone coaching program, can choose a lozenge, gum, or patch that will be mailed directly to their home if they enroll by midnight on Sunday, April 30.

“We want all tobacco users to know that although quitting is hard, they can do it,” said Matthew Schrock, cessation coordinator. “Individuals who smoke often try to quit several times before succeeding, but proven treatments and services are available that can improve your chances to quit for good. We encourage all Kansans to try to quit, and if they want free help, take advantage of this opportunity.”

The Kansas Tobacco Quitline is a free, 24/7 resource available to Kansas residents to help them quit smoking. The Quitline provides help such as counseling, a personalized Quit Plan, and quitting support by phone and through online services. A survey of Quitline users highlighted that 90 percent of participants were satisfied with the Quitline coaches and counselors. The Quitline can be reached by calling 800-QUIT-NOW or 800-784-8669.

OSU mascot honors frontier lawman, sharpshooter, former Kansas resident

“Pistol Pete” is the widely recognized Oklahoma State University mascot named after early day lawman Frank “Pistol Pete” Eaton.

By Frank J. Buchman

Oklahoma State University’s “Pistol Pete” mascot is named after a real Wild West lawman cowboy. Frank “Pistol Pete” Eaton was born October 26, 1860, in Hartford, Conn.

At the age of eight, Frank moved with his family to Twin Mound, Kan. Twin Mound is now a ghost town in western Douglas County. It was named for two natural mounds that rise gently from the landscape.

The famous scout, sheriff, gunman, working cowboy, passed away April 8, 1958, age 97,  at Perkins, Okla., with burial in Perkins Cemetery.

According to Frank’s youngest daughter, Elizabeth Wise, “[Frank’s] dad, my grandpa, was shot in cold blood by six former confederates. They had served during the war with the Quantrill Raiders.”

The six men, from the Campsey and the Ferber clans, rode with the vigilante Southerners. After the war, they called themselves “Regulators.”

In 1868, Mose Beaman, his father’s friend, said to Frank, “My boy, may an old man’s curse rest upon you if you do not try to avenge your father.” Beaman then taught Frank how to handle a gun, Wise said.

At the age of 15, Frank Eaton visited Fort Gibson, Okla., to learn more about shooting guns. Although too young to join the Army, Frank outshot everyone at the fort.

“He competed with the cavalry’s best marksmen, beating them every time,” Wise said.

The fort’s commanding officer, Colonel John Coppinger, gave Frank a marksmanship badge and a new nickname, “Pistol Pete.”

Willing Workers tour Osage City meat processing plant

Willing Workers 4-H Club visits Custom Meats, Osage City, front from left, Clara Thielen and Ruby Stucky, middle, Leila Wilcoxson, Jaiton Bosse, Mason Newman, Reese Newman, Hadley Bosse, Kassie Thielen, and Paige Thielen, back, Bo, Emilee Burkett, Avery Thielen, Claire Newman, Lena Stucky, Kaiden Bosse, Kevin Whitmer, and Gene Roberts. Courtesy photo.

By Avery Thielen, Club Reporter

On March 1, 2023, the Willing Workers 4-H Club went to Custom Meats, in Osage City, to learn how livestock are processed. The 4-Hers were given a tour of the Custom Meats facility by Gene Roberts, Emilee Burkett and employee Bo. Gene did a great job of entertaining the group while educating them on the steps of processing animals. Many of the 4-H members show livestock at the county fair. This tour helped them understand what happens to their animals after they sell them. Even members who do not show livestock found the tour to be informative. It is important that people understand where their meat comes from. Thank you Custom Meats for the tour.

Help House dress shop attires local girls with beautiful prom gowns

By Raylene Quaney

This was the sixth year for the Help House Prom Shop, the most successful to date with the large donation from the Green Prom Movement, a non-profit run by Marc and Melissa Roberts, of Vassar, Kan. Plus, many dresses were donated throughout the year by others in our communities. These were some of some of the most beautiful gowns we have ever had.

This year we gave out 132 dresses, a record number of prom dresses, with close to 450 people through the doors, parents, grandparents, and friends came to help the girls find just the right dress.

I would like to thank the Help House Board of Directors for allowing us to continue to offer this opportunity to the girls in Osage County; also thank you to USD 454 for allowing us to set up shop in their facility and “take it over” for over a week, the gentlemen that had to work around the racks of dresses during that time, and Chris Burk and Mike Barlow and their assistance for getting the building ready. We would like to thank Jaryl and Stephanie Seth for loaning us the display racks for dresses.

And thanks to the volunteers who worked endless hours sorting and hanging and steam pressing all of the dresses and then working each day to assist these shoppers in finding their special dress. We feel so blessed to have been apart of this, watching their smiles and sometimes tears. The special thanks we received from everyone was so special. This endeavor took several hours and days of work from a small army of volunteers to make it such a success. The volunteers were Corinne Dubois, Donna Young, Jan Newman, Carol Grady, Lee Ann Smiley, Connie Bonczkowski, Cindy Ledgard, Tammi Brabb, Nancy Alley, Ann Hladky, Sheila Curtis, and Jaclynn Ruth.

Each girl who found a dress was eligible to register for a $25 Visa gift card. The winner was Alexis Kelly, who attends Santa Fe Trail High School. Congratulations to you.

St. David’s Society to present annual concert Sunday

The 135th St. David’s Concert will be 2:30 p.m. March 5, 2023, at Emporia Presbyterian Church West Campus, 1702 W. 15th Ave., Emporia, Kan. Being one of the oldest continuous celebrations in Kansas, the free Welsh concert is sponsored by the St. David’s Society of Kansas.

Always the heart of the concert, the St. David’s Chorus will open with the traditional song “We’ll Keep a Welcome”. Several other numbers will include song choruses sung in Welsh.

Eluned Jones will return to direct the St. David’s Choir and concert. Being originally from Wales, “The Land of Song,” her musical talent comes naturally. Jones will present one of the special solo numbers.

The concert includes a variety of artists sharing their talents on flute, harp, trumpet, and violin interspersed with vocal solos and a reading.

Opening remarks will be given by the St. David’s President Susan Evans Atchison. Rev. Gary Gooszen and Rev. Phyllis Stutzman will give the invocation and benediction. The concert will close with the singing of “God Be With You”.

Organist and pianist Travis Carmichael will set the tone with a medley of Welsh music for the prelude.

St. David’s Society officers for 2023-24 are president, Linda Orear, vice president, Mi’Chielle Cooper, secretary, Deb Childears, and treasurer, Rhonda Gordon.

Following the concert, a reception featuring bara brith and tea will be served in the Fellowship Hall. An elevator is available in the vestibule.

Silver Haired Legislature election slated for March 10 at local nutrition sites

Election of Silver Haired Legislators for Osage County will be 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Friday, March 10, 2023, at three locations in Osage County: Burlingame Senior Nutrition Site, 116 W. Lincoln Ave., Burlingame; Carbondale Senior Nutrition Site, 228 Main St., Carbondale, KS 66414; and Osage County Senior Center, 604 Market St., Osage City.

Voting instructions and ballots will be posted at each voting place. Date and times will be the same for each site. Those voting should give the following information to the poll worker: Name, address, city or town, and age, and voters should be 60 years or older.

Silver Haired Legislature candidates from Osage County who have filed for election include:

Melody Hoffsommer, Overbrook

  • Candidate statement: Transportation, healthcare costs, safety, and isolation are a few of the problems facing senior citizens today. As a caring member of my community, I would like the opportunity to help create policies, plans, and programs that would benefit retirees and society as a whole. I’ve earned a BA in Political Science and an MSE in School Counseling. Currently, I am a member of Kansas Association of Retired School Personnel, on the Board of Directors of the Appanoose Area Preservation Society, and belong to Northeast Kansas BeeKeepers Association. Your vote would be much appreciated. Thank you.

Betty Hughs, Osage City

  • Candidate statement: I will spotlight the treasure we as a people have in the mature persons of Kansas. We still have much to contribute to those coming up behind us. Diversity of life experiences is vast and unique in our age group. I will clearly show just because one is over 60, one should not be considered useless. Many of we “seniors” who want to work, are rudely shoved aside due to age. The goal is to show we seniors have much more to give and are extremely worth the effort, for the Silvered Haired Legislature to stand in the gap.

Roxanne Wendt, Melvern

  • Candidate statement: For the past 35 years I have worked as a speech-language pathologist in public schools. In my professional career, I have worked diligently to ensure that my students developed a strong voice for themselves. Early in my career, I witnessed the importance of being able to express to others your personal needs and to feel a sense of being heard. Now, as I am nearing the end of my professional work career, I realize my work is far from over. At this time, I believe it is now my responsibility to advocate for the needs of my fellow senior citizens living in Osage County, Kansas, as our voices deserve to be heard in the Kansas Capitol.

The election is conducted by East Central Kansas Area Agency on Aging, Ottawa, Kan.; call 800-633-5621 for more information.

Melvern Jr. Highline members take top awards at District 4-H Club Days

By Bella Reeser, Club Reporter

On Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, at Central Heights High School, the Frontier 4-H District held the district 4-H Club Days.  Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club was represented by four members, Braelyn McNally gave a speech on Sustainability in the Beef Industry and received a top-purple; Gradey McNally presented a multimedia presentation on The Art of Composting, receiving a top-purple; Allie Reeser’s multimedia presentation on Anti-Heroes received a top-purple; and Bella Reeser preformed a solo dance to the song “Shake the Room”, and received a top-purple.

All four Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club members earned the opportunity to participate in Regional 4-H Club Days, Saturday, March 25, at Gardner High School.

Stream advisory rescinded for Marais des Cygnes River near Osawatomie

Water safe for people and animals

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has rescinded a stream advisory for the Marais des Cygnes River located near Osawatomie, Kan., that was issued Feb. 13, 2022. Water samples show no health risk associated with this stream. Water contact in the stream is now deemed safe. Anyone who lives or has activities near the river can have contact with the water, including children and pets.

Judge Wine swears in McWilliams as new Osage County Clerk

Osage County Chief Judge Taylor Wine, left, swore in Julie McWilliams, center, as the new Osage County Clerk, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023. McWilliams was nominated to the position by the Osage County Republican Central Committee, represented at the swearing in by Dana Webber, OCRCC chairman. McWilliams will fill the unexpired term of longtime Osage County Clerk Rhonda Beets, whose resignation was effective Feb. 20. Courtesy photo.

Historical society plans workshop to gather Melvern Lake stories

Melvern Lake control tower. File photo.

The Osage County Historical Society will host a story gatherers workshop 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturday,  March 4, 2023, at Melvern Community Center, 102 NE Main St., Melvern, Kan. The workshop is free to the public.

The workshop is being offered as a part of the “Melvern Lake: Citizens’ Stories” project. The goal of the project is to document and share the Melvern Lake experience from the perspective of Osage County residents.

Osage County Historical Society’s programing director, Lynsay Flory, will lead the workshop, and county archivist Ann Rogers will be available to scan and return any Melvern Lake related images or documents that participants would like to have digitized.

Participants will learn techniques on gathering historical stories from friends and family, receive instruction on using the Storycorp App, and leave equipped with sample questions and knowledge on how to conduct at-home interviews.

This workshop is sponsored in part by OCHS and Humanities Kansas. For more information, contact the historical society at 785-828-3477 or email

Carbondale teen dies after crash with wrong-way driver on U.S. 75

SHAWNEE COUNTY, Kan. – A Carbondale teen died Friday from her injuries sustained in a wrong-way driver accident Wednesday evening on U.S. Highway 75, and a Scranton man has been arrested on charges connected with the accident.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported that Anthony Ray Tugwell, 40, Scranton, Kan., was driving a 2010 Chevrolet Impala northbound in the southbound lanes of U.S. 75, near 97th Street in Shawnee County, around 9 p.m. Feb. 15, 2023, when his vehicle ran head on into a southbound 1995 Dodge Intrepid driven by Alyssa Marie Lee, 16, of Carbondale, Kan. The location is about 1.5 miles north of the Osage County-Shawnee County line.

Both drivers were transported to Stormont Vail Hospital, Topeka, where Lee later died. Each were the sole occupants of their vehicles and had safety restraints in use.

Tugwell was reported as having minor injuries; he was arrested by the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office and booked into the Shawnee County Jail Thursday on charges of aggravated battery, driving under the influence causing great bodily harm or disfigurement, driving under influence of alcohol or drugs misdemeanor, and driving the opposite direction on divided highway. Jail records show he is being held on $50,000 cash or surety bond, and a first court date has been set for 1 p.m. June 1, 2023, in Shawnee County District Court.

Osage County District Court records indicate Tugwell is currently under a 24-month probation order after a conviction last year of failure to comply with offender registration. Part of the conditions of probation include that he must not possess or consume narcotics or controlled substances except as prescribed, or use alcohol or cereal malt beverage. He was required to register as an offender due to a 2011 conviction in Shawnee County of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Caution: KDOT to begin survey of U.S. 75 bridges in Osage County

Beginning Monday, Feb. 20, 2023, the Kansas Department of Transportation will conduct a field survey on two bridges on U.S. 75 in Osage County. The bridges go over state Highway 276 and the Marais Des Cygnes River, and are located approximately four and seven miles, respectively, north of the Coffey County line.

The survey is necessary to gather information for the detailed design of the proposed improvements, and is estimated to be completed by April 15. Roger Dill PS, of RIC, will be the survey project manager for KDOT.

A member of the survey crew first will contact property owners and/or tenants for permission to enter private property. Survey activities will include the use of survey instruments on the ground to determine locations of existing features within the survey corridor.

Overbrook Overlook: Happy New Year, happy new water system

The city of Overbrook will be starting the year with a new water system for the entire city.

In an announcement by Overbrook Mayor Jon Brady to citizens, he said, “2022 brought many challenges for you and the city and we appreciate your understanding during the construction phase of the project. The warranty period will begin for the project after we complete the USDA Rural development project requirements. Many of you have contacted the city with concerns about the project. We have logged these concerns and the contractor has addressed some of them and will be addressing the remaining concerns. We expect grass seeding and lawn repair to begin in the spring. If you have concerns and have not contacted the city please let me know as soon as possible to help us ensure we get them addressed.”  For more information about the water project, see

Overbrook Police Department has taken several reports of mail theft and is reminding citizens to keep a close eye on package deliveries. Also as a reminder, the police department offers jump starting and car lockout services to citizens. Call 785-665-7230 for either of these services.

Willing Workers enjoy fantastic foods

Willing Workers 4-H Club members enjoy pancakes after learning how to make them, left, Clare Newman, Kassie Thielen, Avery Thielen, Jack Ferrer, Ruby Stucky, Mason Newman, right, Leila Wilcoxson, Charlotte Ferrer, Paige Thielen, Clara Thielen, Lena Stucky, and Reese Wilcoxson. Courtesy photo.

By Avery Thielen
Club Reporter

The Willing Workers 4-H Club is always keen to learn about new types of food. Every month the club gets together for a meeting hosted by Pam Whitmer. Unlike monthly meetings held for all members, she teaches members in the cooking project how to cook certain foods and baked goods.

The last cooking meeting was Jan. 29, 2023, at the Osage City Lutheran Church, where the members learned how to make pancakes from scratch. The 4-Hers always have a fun time learning new forms of cooking.

KDHE issues stream advisory for Marais des Cygnes River near Osawatomie

Residents and animals should not enter the water at this time

TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas Department of Health and Environment has issued a stream advisory for the Marais des Cygnes River near Osawatomie, Kan. The stream advisory is a result of an ongoing inflow and infiltration issue near the city of Osawatomie’s wastewater treatment plant.

The advisory has been issued because potential elevated bacteria and contaminants may be present in the Marais des Cygnes River near the city. Anyone who lives or has activities near this stream is advised to not enter the water or allow children or pets to enter.

KDHE will rescind the advisory once flows recede and subsequent bacteria testing indicates secondary contact, such as wading, has been deemed safe.

For more information, contact Andrew Burkhart, City of Osawatomie, at 785-760-7237.

Information thanks to KDHE.

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