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Grace Community Church hosts Freedom Festival Sunday at Overbrook

OVERBROOK, Kan. – Freedom Festival 2022 will be this Sunday, July 3, 2022, at Grace Community Church, 810 E. Eighth St., Overbrook. The event is open to the public, and all free. Activities begin at 6:30 p.m.

“It’s a great opportunity for patriotic Americans to have fellowship in a fun, family-friendly environment,” said Brian Spencer, Freedom Festival chairman.

New this year is a “Most Patriotic Look” contest. The contest is open to all ages. Gift cards of $25 each will be awarded for most festive, most historic and most creative winners. Participants should be in front of the stage by 7:15 p.m. There is no fee to enter the contest.

A car show kicks off the event, with participants requested to show up at 4:30 p.m. There is no entry fee. This car show is all for fun.

Free food, drink, and a dessert will be available while they last, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Serving will take place just inside the west entrance. Live music featuring local talent will begin at 7:30 p.m., and at 8 p.m. will be featured performer Alan Cunningham. A special ceremony will honor veterans and our flag. Balloon Animal Ministry will be donating balloon animals to event goers.

The grand finale will be a spectacular fireworks show set to music at dark. Everyone is invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets to sit on.

This is an alcohol and tobacco free event, and is presented by the Men’s Ministry of Grace Community Church, in Overbrook. For more information, see www.gccinoverbrook.com.

Work on U.S. 75 through Lyndon to begin July 5

LYNDON, Kan. – A milling and overlay project on U.S. Highway 75 in Osage County is scheduled to begin Tuesday, July 5, weather permitting. The project will cover approximately three miles, from state Highway 68, through Lyndon, to the south end of the state Highway 31 roundabout.

Kansas Department of Transportation reports traffic will be restricted to one lane in the work zone and will be directed by a pilot car, flaggers, signs, and cones. Drivers should plan for delays of up to 15 minutes.

Work will occur Monday through Friday during daylight hours. The project is expected to be completed by mid-August.

Killough Construction Inc., of Ottawa, Kan., is the contractor on the $1.4 million project.

KDOT urges all motorists to be alert and obey warning signs when approaching and driving through a highway work zone. For more information about road construction projects across Kansas, see www.kandrive.org or call 511.

Osage City puts on blue jeans for annual Osage County Fair Parade

The Osage City Chamber of Commerce hosts the annual Osage County Fair Parade, at Osage City. All floats or other entries are welcomed in the parade, which travels from west to east on Market Street, ending downtown. The 2022 parade will be 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 8, with lineup on West Market Street. In conjunction with the fair parade this year, there will also be a parade for kids with decorated bicycles, wagons, scooters, and is open to children up to age 12.

The theme for the fair and the parade is “”Blue Jeans and Country Dreams”, and Adam Burnett, parade chairman, is creating some new and innovative concepts for the parade for this year.

Prize money for float entries will be 1st-$125,  2nd-$100,  3rd-$75, 4th-$50.  Prize money for golf carts and ATVs will be 1st-$30,  2nd-$20,  3rd-$10. Person must be 17 years old to drive either golf carts or ATVs. No water balloons will be allowed in the parade.

Judging for floats, golf carts and ATVs will begin at 5:15 and will end at 5:45 p.m. To have an entry judged, stop by the Flint Hills Beverage drive and wait to be judged. Once you have been judged, proceed to getting in line for the parade. Line up starts at the west end of Market Street.  There will be parade personnel there with clip boards and a line up sheet.

The kids parade will begin at 6:15 p.m., with line up at 6 p.m. at Lincoln Park. The kids parade will travel from Lincoln Park to Seventh and Market streets. Participants must wear a helmet, and children under 6 years must be accompanied by an adult. Prizes will be given to participants. For more information or to pre-register, call Becky Siljenberg at 785-217-7342 or email [email protected], or Jeanette Swarts at 785-249-5451 or email [email protected].

A parade entry form can be found on the Osage City Chamber of Commerce website at www.osagecitychamber.com, under the Happenings link. Submit the form to Burnett at [email protected] or call him at 785-760-0621 for more information.

Overbrook invites all to Fourth of July celebration

Fireworks at Overbrook Lake. File photo.

The annual City of Overbrook Independence Day Celebration will be Monday, July 4, 2022. Overbrook Pride hosts the community celebration, which starts off with the bike parade at 11:30 a.m. Riders share free hot dogs and root beer floats after the parade. The city opens up its swimming pool for a free swim, 1-5 p.m. A farmers market will be open at the fairgrounds, 4-6 p.m. Evening fun gets underway about 6 p.m., at Overbrook Lake. The event includes food and activities for the evening, with the finale fireworks display around 10 p.m.

Overbrook Pride is sponsoring a free inflatable water slide for kids, and Overbrook Bible Church is serving free watermelon. Food trucks and food vendors will be on hand to offer a variety of choices for evening refreshments.

Lyndon celebrates Independence Day Saturday

Fireworks at a past Lyndon Independence Day celebration. File photo.

The Lyndon community will celebrate Independence Day this Saturday, July 2, 2022, with a day full of fun and activities at City Park, followed by a parade, then fireworks at nearby Lamont Hill and Vassar.

The fun begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at the park with kids’ races and activities. Free watermelon will be offered at 10 a.m., and the Lyndon United Methodist Church will host a barbecue meal fundraiser.  Food trucks and vendors will also be available for lunch and refreshments. A cornhole tournament starts up at 11 a.m., which is also the pie baking contest deadline. Activities lead up to the 4 p.m. parade on Topeka Avenue from 10th Street to Fifth Street. This year’s parade theme is “Red, White and BOOM!”

Lyndon’s celebration concludes at the Vassar community, with Sharp’s annual firework show at Lamont Hill Golf Course. Everyone is invited to bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy the show. There will be live music and more. Food and ice cream will be available at Lamont Hill Restaurant.

See the 2022 schedule below:

RCIL to host two learning sessions for those with vision loss

RCIL will host a two-part seminar to help people who have vision loss. Attendees will learn about topics such as self-care, and using technology to help with every day needs. The seminar will be 12-2 p.m. on two days, July 6 and July 13, 2022, at the Osage County Senior Center, 604 Market St., Osage City, Kan.

The first session will cover self care, shopping, and cooking; second session will include reading, writing, and using technology.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Amanda Smith, of Resource Center for Independent Living, at 785-528-3105, or [email protected].

Kansas Forest Service: Community should ready defenses against emerald ash borer

Osage County, prepare for emerald ash borer

Emerald ash borer was confirmed in Osage County in 2022, presenting new challenges for communities and residents as they care for their community forest resources.

The Kansas Forest Service is presenting a seminar 12:30-4 p.m. Thursday, July 21, 2022, at Carbondale City Building, 234 W. Main St., Carbondale, Kan., focusing on the identification of emerald ash borer and how to prepare for its arrival in the area. An open forum for participant networking will follow the program.

Registration for the free seminar is requested; registration is available through this link: Prepare for EAB.

Lyndon gets revved up for citywide garage sales and annual car show

Lyndon’s citywide garage sales will be June 17-18, 2022. The Lyndon Carnegie Library is making a map of sales available. Anyone who would like their sale on the map is asked to call the library at 785-828-4520 by 6 p.m. Thursday. The maps will be at Casey’s and the post office on Friday and at the library Saturday.

Also the library will be holding a book sale 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, and starting at 9 a.m. Saturday. Proceeds will help the library meet its goal of $6,000 to purchase a new air conditioner and furnace for the basement.

For more information about the garage sales or book sale, call or stop by the library at 127 E. Sixth St., Lyndon, Kan., or see www.lyndonlibrary.org.

Also Saturday will be the 10th annual Get ‘Rev’d Up’ All Motor Show. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. and the show runs until 3 p.m., at Lyndon City Park. Registration is open until the day of the show. Free admission for spectators. For more information or to register a vehicle, contact Greg Thill at 785-221-9024 or [email protected].

Closing high school chapter, Osage City graduates begin next installment of life

OSAGE CITY, Kan. – In front of family, friends, classmates and well-wishers, the Osage City High School class of 2022 closed one chapter of their lives and opened the next on Sunday, May 15, 2022.

The class’s two honor students, Hannah Jones and Bryson Murphy each described their sadness and fears about the end of their Osage City school years, but encouraged their classmates to not forget the good times and relive the happy moments.

“When I think about my time here at Osage I remember the good times,” Murphy said. Reviewing some of the good memories of his high school years, “It was everything to me,” he said. But as the class was making memories, they were also preparing for the next chapter, Murphy said he realized recently.

“I am ready for college,” he said. “I am ready for what’s next to come in life. But I am not ready to leave this. Leave family. Leave this home.”

He urged his friends to see how much they’ve grown, but to continue to grow.

“Let’s all take a deep breathe together,” he said. “It is time for us to begin our next chapter – not alone and afraid, but together and afraid.”

Jones thanked those who helped the graduates get to the final pages of their high school chapter. “Each of us have helped us get to this day,” she said.

Jones reviewed the class’s four years at Osage City High School, noting their junior year presented unexpected challenges.

“The school year began with temperature checks, masks and social distancing,” she said. Subsequently, the students learned about contact tracing and quarantining, all of which led to online learning.

“As the school year progressed, this became the new normal,” Jones said.

Jones thanked Osage City High School Principal Tony Heward for choosing the 2022 class as  his last at the school, as he was there for all of the class’s high school years.

“Four years goes by quickly,” Jones said, noting one important lesson she learned was “how important it is to live in the moment. Don’t rush or wish time away. Because it goes by plenty fast by itself.”

But she urged her friends to notice, “Even though it doesn’t seem like it now, high school is just a tiny part of our lives.”

“Our time has come to move onto the next chapter in our lives,” she said.

Frontier Extension District enlists interns for summer programs

The Frontier Extension District has been awarded three summer interns through a K-State Research and Extension grant to help combat COVID and promote learning within local communities.

With health and wellness frames in mind, the Extension district created Bicycle SPIN (Special Interest) Clubs partnering with local libraries. With interns’ assistance, youth will be able explore nature, food and nutrition, exercise, and much more. The SPIN clubs will provide a safe space where kids feel welcomed.

Welcome these Frontier Extension interns for the summer. Here they tell you a little bit about themselves.

Josie Thompson

Hello, my name is Josie Thompson. I am from Osage County and was a member of the Willing Workers 4-H Club for 12 years. I was involved in many projects over the years, but my favorites were livestock and food and nutrition. I am so excited to be a 4-H intern and make many connections with 4-H members.

As an intern, I plan to make the kids we work with feel included and as if they belong. I believe there is something for everyone in 4-H. Youth should be able to find their passion, whether it be cooking, Legos, showing livestock, or even fashion. I can foresee how much fun this internship will be this summer!

Hailey Gillespie

My name is Hailey Gillespie, and I am the 4-H Youth Development summer intern in Anderson County this summer. Over the last several years, I have been an active member of the Seekers Not Slackers 4-H Club and Anderson County FFA. In 4-H, I was involved in numerous projects, but the sheep project was always my favorite.

Currently, I am a Fort Scott Community College Livestock Judging Team member while I work towards my associate degree. After Fort Scott, I plan to transfer to Kansas State University. I am so excited to be working with youth over the summer!

Ethan Hatfield

Hi, my name is Ethan Hatfield and I am the 4-H Youth Development intern for Franklin County. I was born and raised in Pomona, Kan., where our family runs a small Hereford cattle operation. Throughout 4-H, I have been involved in numerous projects and events, but the one I enjoyed the most was showing cattle.

I am currently attending Kansas State University with a biomedical engineering degree on the pre-med track. My future career goal is to work as a family physician in a rural area. I’m looking forward to all the fun and great experience we have planned this summer.”

For more information about the Bicycle SPIN program, contact the Frontier Extension office at Ottawa, 785-229-3520, or inquire at a local library.

Traveling exhibit tells story of Osage County’s county seats

Ann Rogers and Lynsay Flory show the historical exhibit “Individuals of Influence,” which is on display now at the Lyndon Library.

The Osage County Historical Society has a new, civics-minded exhibit. “Individuals of Influence,” led by an Osage County archivist, Ann Rogers, gives current Osage County citizens a connection with those who came before them.

The display contains photos and artifacts related to the county seat at Lyndon, but it is important to note the county had several county seats prior to when Lyndon became county seat. Rogers and Lynsay Flory, OCHS director, have written a short history tracing the county seats, and it is available in a free pamphlet at the display. The exhibit is currently on display at the Lyndon Carnegie Library, 127 E. Sixth St., Lyndon, Kan.

“The society would welcome donations of artifacts directly relating to the past county seats,” Rogers said.

Flory noted the exhibit highlights the important history of citizen involvement in local government.

“As we approach a two-year election year, it can be tempting to neglect local and county concerns,” Flory said, “but our exhibit demonstrates the value citizens place on county affairs. To Osage County residents past and present, local and county issues are important.”

The historical society plans to move the exhibit around the county, enabling more people to see it.

Burlingame’s 2022 graduates look back at paths taken, look forward to new journeys

BURLINGAME, Kan. – During the May 14, 2022, graduation ceremony, the graduates of Burlingame High School faced a reality – a long journey had ended and a new journey was beginning. With 22 students in the 2022 BHS graduating class, four were named as valedictorians, each sharing remembrances of the paths they had taken to get there and ideas about the direction they were heading.

Valedictorian Kenna Masters told her classmates, “Here we are at this very moment that marks the beginning of our next journey.”

On behalf of the graduates, she recognized those who had helped the class reach this point. To the teachers, “we appreciate all of the support you have given us throughout our years of school,” Masters said. To the coaches, noting the girls volleyball, basketball and softball teams had made school history during this class’s school years, “Thank you for preparing us and guiding us to achieve our goals. And to parents and family members, she said those who cared for the students “have created a solid foundation for [our] future.”

Daelyn Winters, valedictorian and 2022 senior class president, said the class had worked together on their journey “walking as one. We’ve done this all together, but today that ends. The path we have been sharing together is about to split into 22 different paths. Every single one of those paths will have challenges.”

She encouraged her classmates to “meet the challenges head on and not shy away,” and offered a farewell good wish, “Wherever the future takes you, let it take you somewhere you are happy with.”

Valedictorian Brooke Lewis lamented that “although school days seemed to drag on … the years went by so quickly.” But through their years at Burlingame schools, “We learned how to deal with adversity and push through difficult times.”

Congratulating her classmates for reaching this point in their school years journey, Lewis said, “You made it to this day for a reason. You are capable of so much, so set your goals high. Life is short, so go out there and follow your dreams.”

Valedictorian McKrae Masters had tallied up her journey as “2,487 days of conversation, of giggling and making jokes, and creating friendships, of loving one another … 2,487 days of figuring out who we truly want to be…”

“Well it’s here and we are grown,” she said, “but no I no longer want to be.”

Masters said though she hadn’t “enjoyed every minute of it” she enjoyed the “memories that were made, the laughter that was created, and the life lessons that we learned.”

“So as we leave here today, my only wish is that all the memories and the laughter and the lessons stay with us, and with all of you, forever,” she said.

In addition to the four valedictorians, Emma Tyson was named as the 2022 class salutatorian.

Former Overbrook area resident pleads guilty to supporting foreign terrorist organization

OVERBROOK, Kan. – A former Overbrook, Kan., woman, Allison Fluke-Ekren, admitted Tuesday, June 7, 2022, to providing military training to women and young girls in Syria on behalf of the terrorist organization ISIS, and committing other terrorist acts.

Allison Fluke-Ekren. Photo Alexandria, Va., Sheriff’s Office.

A press release from the U.S. Department of Justice laid out the charges, for which Fluke-Ekren pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization.

Fluke-Ekren’s notoriety has put the city of Overbrook in numerous news stories, as news organizations across the world have identified Fluke-Ekren, formerly Allison Brooks, as being a teacher from the Osage County town. Court documents indicate she is also known as Umm Mohammed al-Amriki and Umm Mohammed. A 2004 article in the Lawrence Journal World quotes Fluke-Ekren as a homeschool teacher who taught her own two children using a virtual school curriculum, because she was dissatisfied with her children’s results in public and private schools. The Lawrence Journal World article identifies Fluke-Ekren and her children as a Lawrence, Kan., family. A personal business profile on a popular business website lists Allison Fluke-Ekren as from Overbrook and a teacher with the New Vision International School.

The U.S. Justice’s Department’s release describes the charges and circumstances that led to Fluke-Ekren’s apprehension in Syria and subsequent transfer of custody to the FBI in January 2022. She had been absent from the United States for about 11 years.

The following information was released by the DOJ Office of Public Affairs:

A U.S. citizen pleaded guilty [June 7, 2022] in the Eastern District of Virginia to organizing and leading an all-female military battalion in Syria on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization.

According to court documents, Allison Fluke-Ekren, aka Allison Ekren, aka Umm Mohammed al-Amriki and aka Umm Mohammed, 42, a former resident of Kansas, traveled overseas and from in or about September 2011 through in or about May 2019, engaged in terrorism-related activities in multiple countries, including Syria, Libya and Iraq. Fluke-Ekren ultimately served as the leader and organizer of an ISIS military battalion, known as the Khatiba Nusaybah, where she trained women on the use of automatic firing AK-47 assault rifles, grenades and suicide belts. Over 100 women and young girls, including as young as 10 or 11-years-old, received military training from Fluke-Ekren in Syria on behalf of ISIS.

In or around 2008, Fluke-Ekren departed the United States and moved to Egypt with her second husband, a now-deceased former member of the terrorist organization Ansar al-Sharia. Fluke-Ekren resided in Egypt until in or around 2011, at which point she moved to Libya. Near the end of 2011, Fluke-Ekren resided with her second husband, among others, in Benghazi, Libya. In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. Special Mission and CIA Annex in Benghazi, Fluke-Ekren’s second husband claimed that he removed at least one box of documents and at least one electronic device from the U.S. compound in Benghazi. He brought the items to the residence where he resided with Fluke-Ekren and others at that time. Fluke-Ekren assisted her second husband with reviewing and summarizing the contents of the stolen U.S. government documents. The stolen documents and electronic device, along with the summaries that Fluke-Ekren helped prepare, were provided to the leadership of Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi.

Political signs not allowed on highway right of way

TOPEKA, Kan. – It’s a sign of the season – political campaigning and the posting of campaign signs. The Kansas Department of Transportation is reminding the public that all political campaign signs or billboards are prohibited on state rights of way.

By law, all state highway rights of way are exclusively for public highway purposes. Only regulatory, guide signs and warning signs placed by KDOT are allowed on the 9,500-mile state highway system. KDOT has jurisdiction over all interstate, Kansas and U.S. routes.

When KDOT maintenance crews find political or business advertising on state right of way, the signs will be removed immediately and without notice. All such signs will then be taken to the closest KDOT sub-area office. Political campaign signs not retrieved from the sub-area offices will be disposed of after the election.

Political campaign advertising is allowed on private property bordering state right of way. However, people placing or erecting signs on private property must first obtain permission from the property owner.

A state law passed in 2015 related to placement of campaign signs on city or county owned rights of way does not apply to state highway right of way. Persons placing signs along city streets or county roads should consult local jurisdiction rules.

Two arrested near Carbondale after deputy arrives to serve civil papers

CARBONDALE, Kan. – The Osage County Sheriff’s Office has reported two people were arrested Monday after a deputy visited a residence in rural Carbondale, Kan., to serve a civil paper.

The sheriff’s report said around 11:30 a.m. Monday, May 30, 2022, a deputy arrived at the residence in the 12600 block of South Lewelling Road, near Carbondale, to serve the civil paper, when he encountered two subjects engaged in suspected illegal narcotic use. One subject was taken into custody without incident. Another subject fled the scene on foot. A sheriff’s office dog was requested at the scene and was used to track the subject.

Marie E. Bagby, 59, Carbondale, was arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and two warrants. Dennis D. Lee, 68, Carbondale, was taken into custody on suspicion of felony interference with law enforcement.

The Osage County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Kansas Highway Patrol and Carbondale Police Department in the incident.

United Way mails 150,000th Imagination Library book for Flint Hills’ kids

EMPORIA, Kan. – United Way of the Flint Hills has announced it has mailed its 150,000th Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library book. As a local affiliate of the Imagination Library since 2014, the United Way of the Flint Hills delivers free books to children aged birth to five. Imagination Library books are hand-selected, age-appropriate, and high quality. United Way’s partnership with the Imagination Library ensures Flint Hills area children can have a great selection of books at home, fostering early literacy skills and a love of reading.

United Way CEO Mickey Edwards said local funds support the Imagination Library in the Flint Hills, and there is no cost to the families of children receiving books. Local contributions help fund the program that has benefited thousands of children across the Flint Hills.

Flint Hills area children ages birth to five who live in Chase, Coffey, Lyon, Morris, Osage and Woodson counties, and in zip codes 66423, 66431, and 66507 in Wabaunsee Counties are eligible to enroll. For more information about United Way of the Flint Hills’ Imagination Library, or for an enrollment form, see www.uwfh.org/dpil.

Melvern works together to honor service members on Memorial Day

By Bella Reeser, Club Reporter
Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club

Mud boots and rain coats were needed, but nothing stopped the Melvern community from coming together to honor those at the Melvern Cemetery who have served our country. On Saturday, May 28, 2022, members of the community placed flags on the graves of local community members who had served.

Interstate pursuit leads to early morning arrests in the woods

OSAGE COUNTY, Kan. – Three Kansas City, Mo., men were arrested early Monday morning after about a 20-mile vehicle pursuit on Interstate 35.

The Osage County Sheriff’s Office reported that at 4:10 a.m. May 30, 2022, an Osage County deputy attempted to conduct a traffic stop at milepost 165 on I-35. The vehicle failed to stop, and a pursuit ensued. The vehicle finally came to a stop at milepost 187 after it struck a tire deflating device deployed by Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

When the vehicle came to a stop, three subjects fled into a wooded area. Eventually the three were located, taken into custody, and booked into the Osage County Jail on a variety of charges.

Ramar D. Brown, 26, Kansas City, Mo., was arrested on suspicion of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, felony flee or attempt to elude law enforcement, and felony interference. Jaron L. Brown, 22, and Johnathon D. Daniel, 30, both of Kansas City, Mo., were each arrested on suspicion of felony interference.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and Ottawa Police Department assisted in the pursuit and arrests.

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