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Category Archives: Outdoors

KDHE, KDWPT issue public health advisories for blue-green algae for 2 Osage County lakes

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks have included two Osage County lakes in public health advisories for Kansas lakes due to blue-green algae.

Melvern Outlet Pond, below Melvern Dam, was upgraded July 22, 2021, to a warning advisory for blue-green algae, while Overbook City Lake, at Overbrook, remains under a watch status.

When a warning is issued, water is not safe to drink for pets, livestock, or people (humans should never consume lake water regardless of blue-green algae status), and all water contact should be avoided. If lake water contacts skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible. During a blue-green algae warning, fish may be eaten if they are rinsed with clean water and only the fillet portion is consumed; all other parts should be discarded. Pets should not be allowed to eat dried algae. People are advised to avoid all areas of visible algae accumulation.

A watch status 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 a watch, swimming, wading, skiing and jet skiing are discouraged near visible blooms. Areas of algae accumulation, including dried algae, should be avoided and pets and humans should not consume the water. Clean fish well with potable water and eat fillet portion only.

Signs of a possible bloom include scum, a paint-like surface, or bright green water. These are indications that a harmful bloom might be present. If these conditions are present, avoid contact and keep pets away. Pet owners should be aware animals that swim in or drink water affected by a harmful algal bloom or eat dried algae along the shore may become seriously ill or die.

KDHE investigates publicly-accessible bodies of water for blue-green algae when the agency receives reports of potential algae blooms in Kansas lakes. Based on credible field observation and sampling results, KDHE reports potentially harmful conditions.

Lyndon Methodist Church celebrates 150th anniversary by getting all ‘Rev’d Up’

Lyndon United Methodist Church’s ninth annual Get Rev’d Up All Motor Show, held June 19, 2021, also served as a celebration for the church’s 150th anniversary, which was observed a year late due to the pandemic.

This year’s event, Lyndon resident Gene Hirt handed out 172 American Flags as the cars, trucks and motorcycles entered the city park in Lyndon, which was filled to the brim with cars as the show got underway.

The church served homemade biscuits and gravy, breakfast burritos and cinnamon rolls inside the shelter house, and later homemade ice cream and lunch. The American Legion came around 9:30 a.m. and Michael Kaufman, Lyndon High School band teacher, played the Star Spangled Banner solo on the saxophone. Music played throughout the morning with DJ Pat Reyle, Rock Star Entertainment, and Mike Cline and the Constant Praise Band, from Atchison, and who have performed at the car show since its beginning.

At the awards ceremony in the afternoon, 32 prizes were awarded, with a special guest, David Wolfe from the Street Rodding American Style PBS program, who presented a “PIZZAZZ” award to Bruce Mishler,of Lyndon. Show participants also were presented door prizes and monetary awards, which were made possible with donations from local businesses and organizations.

LUMC’s memorial picks for 2021 were (award honoree, motor vehicle, owner name):

Frontier Extension recruits Master Gardeners for fall training

Frontier Extension District is taking applications for Master Gardener training scheduled for fall. Do you enjoy working in the garden, flower bed or your lawn? Do you enjoy people, learning new things, and helping out in your community? If you answered “yes” to these questions, the Master Gardner Program could be for you.

In the Master Gardener program, participants learn about plant biology, soils, flowers, trees and shrubs, lawn care, fruits, vegetables, indoor plants, insects, diseases and pesticides. Master Gardeners are asked to give back 40 hours of service and education after completing the training.

The classes will be Thursday afternoons via Zoom, Sept. 2 through Dec. 16, except Nov. 25. For participants who can’t log in at the scheduled times, meetings will be recorded and be available to watch afterward. In addition to the Zoom meetings, there will be three in-class meetings, Oct. 4, Nov. 8 and Dec. 20, in locations around the district, with times and locations to be determined.

EPA, Coffey County landowner, company reach settlement in alleged clean water act violations

USACE enlists EPA for enforcement action over Neosho River bank stabilization project near Burlington

COFFEY COUNTY, Kan. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached a settlement with Thomas Robrahn, Burlington, Kan., and Skillman Construction LLC, New Strawn, Kan., to resolve alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act that occurred on property along the Neosho River. Under the settlement, the parties will pay a $60,000 civil penalty.

The EPA alleged Robrahn and Skillman Construction violated the CWA by placing approximately 400 cubic yards of broken concrete into the river adjacent to Robrahn’s property in an attempt to stabilize the riverbank. The EPA alleged the work impacted about 240 feet of the river and was completed without first obtaining a required CWA permit. The site was on a section of the river that has known populations of Neosho Madtom, a federally listed threatened fish species.

As part of the settlement with EPA, the parties agreed to remove the concrete and restore the impacted site to comply with the CWA.

Under the CWA, parties are prohibited from discharging fill material into water bodies unless they first obtain a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. If parties place fill material into water bodies without a permit, the Corps can refer an enforcement case to EPA.

The penalty settlement is subject to a 30-day public notice and comment period. Anyone interested in reviewing the settlement or making a comment about the settlement, can do so here: www.epa.gov/ks/region-7-table-clean-water-act-public-notices.

The Neosho River traverses Coffey County from the northwest to southeast, entering the county near Hartford and the Flint Hills National Wildlife Preserve; it feeds John Redmond Reservoir, which outlets above Burlington, and flows past LeRoy before entering Woodson County near Neosho Falls.

Governor declares state of emergency for flooding; urges residents to be safe

TOPEKA, Kan. – Gov. Laura Kelly issued a state of disaster emergency declaration today, May 17, 2021, for flooding that occurred in counties throughout Kansas. The declaration authorizes the use of state resources and personnel to assist with response and recovery operations in affected counties that meet certain criteria.

‘We urge residents to be aware of their safety. Flood waters can be deceptive,” Kelly said. “Although people often think of tornadoes as the big destructive force of nature in Kansas, floods can be just as damaging, if not more so. Floods affect many, many square miles, destroying or damaging roads, bridges, power lines and other vital infrastructure. I am signing this declaration to help these county governments quickly restore infrastructure and get things back to normal for their citizens.”

Some campsites temporarily closed at Perry Lake due to nesting bald eagles

KANSAS CITY, MO – Officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District, announced that some campsites at Slough Creek Park at Perry Lake will be closed due to the recent discovery of a pair of nesting bald eagles. All campsites and activity on Locust Loop will remain closed until at least July 15, 2021. All other areas in Slough Creek Park are unaffected and remain open.

Bald eagles, previously on the Endangered Species List, have increased in population significantly, but are still protected by multiple laws and regulations. Corps natural resource staff have coordinated with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and taken actions for compliance with the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

MdCV Stuco members continue tradition for Melvern’s annual Easter egg hunt

The Melvern community was able to enjoy the annual Easter egg hunt this year due to the efforts of the local junior high school student council.

For many years, the Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club has held the Melvern Easter Egg Hunt, but when the Marais des Cygnes Valley Junior High Stuco found out this year the 4-H club couldn’t do it, they didn’t let their community down.

The StuCo spent a week putting eggs together and stuffing them with candy (with most of the candy donated by community member Lori Walker) in preparation for the big day. Stuco members felt blessed with a beautiful day and a huge crowd of people who showed up on Saturday, April 3, 2021, to celebrate the annual Easter Egg Hunt.

Friends of Pomona State Park gear up for camping season; elect 2021 officers

The Friends of Pomona State Park is getting ready for the 2021 camping season, having recently electing new officers: Darren White is chairman; Susan Jacob, secretary-treasurer; and Robert Stachowski is vice chair.

The Friends’ first meeting of the year will be at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 1, 2021, at the Southwind Shelter House, Pomona State Park. Other meetings scheduled for the year will be July 10, Aug. 7, Sept. 4, and Oct. 9.

FOPSP is a volunteer based non-profit organization that helps coordinate activities, educational opportunities, and conveniences for campers and visitors at Pomona State Park. Annual dues are $5 for individuals, $10 for family, or $25 for businesses. Anyone interested in joining the Friends can contact Stachowski at [email protected], or for more information, contact the park office at 785-828-4994.

Spring car show brings relief from year of pandemic

The Osage City Police Department and Osage County Sheriff Office selected Taurance Roberson, left front, of Platte City, Mo., to receive the “Thin Blue Line Award”. The thin blue line flag stands for the sacrifice law enforcement officers of the nation make each day. The Twin Lakes Cruisers used the opportunity to express appreciation, respect and thanks for law enforcement for their service to Osage City and Osage County. Twin Lakes Cruisers photo.

Approximately 210 entrants participated in the 17th Annual Cruis’n & Cook’n Auto  Show, Saturday, April 10, 2021, in downtown Osage City along Market Street. The show was deemed a success, though the morning started out somewhat concerning regarding the weather. Mother Nature kept the rain away, and even though the temperature was a bit cool, the sun was able to break through the clouds and gave us a nice day. Everyone seemed to be ready to get out and enjoy an event after a year of uncertainty with the pandemic. The Twin Lakes Cruisers had to cancel the car show last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of the participants were pleased when they learned the car club had made the decision to go ahead and have the show this year.

Thank you
Twin Lakes Cruisers appreciate the downtown business district’s support and participation with the event. They also appreciate the spectator enthusiasm and attendance and are proud to organize an event that all ages can enjoy.

The Twin Lakes Cruisers announced the following entrants as winners of the show:

KDHE issues air quality health advisory due to prescribed burns

TOPEKA, Kan. – Prescribed burning within the Flint Hills region yesterday has contributed to elevated air pollutant levels for parts of Kansas this morning, April 14, 2021. Additional burning today will continue to impact air quality for the southern Flint Hills westward, including Wichita, the Red Hills region, and perhaps as far west as Liberal.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) will likely range from moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups, and even unhealthy at times for localized areas today through Thursday. The most significant impacts will occur during the evening, overnight and mornings hours. View the current air quality and AQI for specific areas on www.airnow.gov.

Burning within the Flint Hills occurs annually to help preserve the tallgrass prairie, control invasive species such as eastern red cedar and sumac, and provide better forage for cattle. Prescribed burning minimizes risk of wildfires and is used in managing rangeland resources. Smoke from the burns can influence the air quality of downwind areas and can be carried long distances.

Prescribed burns release large amounts of particulate matter and substances that can form ozone. Particulate matter and ozone can cause health problems, even in healthy individuals. Common health problems include burning eyes, runny nose, coughing, and illnesses such as bronchitis. Individuals with respiratory issues, pre-existing heart or lung diseases, children, and elderly may experience worse symptoms.

Steps to protect your health on days when smoke is present:

  • Healthy people should limit or avoid strenuous outdoor exercise.
  • People with respiratory or heart related illnesses should remain indoors.
  • Help keep indoor air clean by closing doors and windows and running air conditioners with air filters.
  • Keep hydrated by drinking lots of water.
  • Contact a doctor if showing symptoms such as chest pain, chest tightness, shortness of breath or severe fatigue.

KDHE and partners continue to implement the Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan to help mitigate air quality impacts that result from burning. The plan includes recommendations to minimize and disperse the smoke produced by burning. For more information about the burning in the Flint Hills and the Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan, see www.ksfire.org.

Burn ban in effect for Osage County, April 2, 2021; fire weather watch for NE Kansas

Osage County Sheriff Chris Wells issued a burn ban for all of Osage County effective yesterday afternoon, Thursday, April 1, 2021; it will remain in effect until rescinded. Northeast Kansas remains under a fire weather watch today through early Saturday due to low relative humidity values and high wind gusts.

The National Weather Service in Topeka issued a fire weather watch in effect Friday afternoon through Friday night. South winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph are forecast, with minimum relative humidity values between 20 and 25 percent. Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. A fire weather watch means that critical fire weather conditions are forecast to occur. Outdoor burning is not recommended.

The Osage County burn ban suspends all locally issued burn permits and prohibits outdoor burning.

For more information about the local burn ban, contact the Osage County Sheriff’s Office at 785-828-3121.

Osage County: Burn ban extended through Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Update: March 31, 2021 – OCEM has extended the burn ban for today and it will remain in effect until rescinded.

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Update: March 29, 2021 – The countywide burn ban issued today will remain in effect until rescinded due to very high fire danger predicted for Tuesday with low humidity and wind gusts to 35 mph. OCEM will evaluate conditions late Tuesday afternoon.

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Osage County Emergency Management has issued a burn ban as of 6 a.m. March 29, 2021, for all of Osage County, Kan. The ban will remain in effect for the next 24 hours and could be extended depending on weather conditions. The ban prohibits all outside burning, and suspends all burn permits.

The burn ban is due to forecast extreme fire danger for today, which means fire control would be very difficult and require extended effort. In addition, National Weather Service at Topeka has issued a red flag warning and high wind advisory for today, with wind gusts as high as 60 mph possible.

Critical fire conditions are expected area wide Monday afternoon with a combination of minimum relative humidity at 16 to 22 percent and very strong south winds with gusts up to 55 mph. Winds are expected to shift quickly to the north tonight behind a cold front.

The red flag warning has been issued for the entire northeast Kansas area with the wind advisory covering much of the area, including Osage County, where wind gusts are expected to be in the 50-60 mph range Monday afternoon. Very high fire danger conditions are expected to extend into tonight and Tuesday.

The burn ban in Osage County could be extended depending on weather conditions forecast for Tuesday.

For more information about the burn ban, contact OCEM at 785-828-3323, or the Osage County Sheriff’s Office at 785-828-3121.

Extension webinar offers tips on controlling wildlife damage

The Frontier Extension District series of horticulture webinars concludes with information about wildlife damage control at 7 p.m. March 18, 2021.

The speaker for the evening will be K-State Extension Wildlife Specialist Drew Ricketts, who will discuss how to keep deer from killing shrubs or gardens, how to control moles, keeping pesky squirrels from eating bird food, keeping rabbits out of leafy garden plants, and even touch on raccoons and armadillos.

The horticulture webinars are open and free to the public, and include a 45-minute presentation with the opportunity to ask questions at the end. To register for the meeting, call Ryan Schaub, horticulture agent, Frontier Extension District Garnett office, at 785-448-6826 or email [email protected].

Burn ban rescinded March 11, 2021

Update: OCEM rescinded this burn ban at 8 a.m. Thursday, March 11, 2021.

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A burn ban remains in effect for Osage County for today, Wednesday, March 10, 2021. National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory and red flag warning for much of central and eastern Kansas for this afternoon.

Osage County Emergency Management extended the countywide burn ban that was first issued Sunday. All outdoor burning is prohibited and all burn permits are suspended during the burn ban.

The NWS red flag warning is in effect 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday; the warning covers most of central Kansas. The wind advisory covers all of northeast Kansas. Winds are forecast to be southwest at 25-35 mph, and gusting to 50 mph, before finally switching to the north at 10-20 mph during the evening and overnight. Relative humidity values are expected to fall into the teens this afternoon. Fuels will remain very dry and conducive for rapid fire growth.

The countywide burn ban will remain in effect until rescinded. For more information about the burn ban, contact Osage County Emergency Management at 785-828-3323 or Osage County Sheriff’s Office at 785-828-3121.

Osage County’s burn ban continues for Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Update: OCEM has extended the Osage County burn ban through today, Tuesday, March 9, 2021. Windy conditions continue today, with gusts up to 40 mph.

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The National Weather Service at Topeka has issued a red flag warning for the north central and east central Kansas for Monday, March 8, 2021, and Osage County Emergency Management has continued a countywide burn ban that was put into effect Sunday.

Also today, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly declared a state of disaster emergency due to a high risk of wildland fires and red flag warnings in several Kansas counties.

The burn ban for Osage County remains in effect until it is rescinded, with extreme fire danger expected through this afternoon. The red flag warning is in effect 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. this evening. In Osage County, no outside burning is permitted and all burn permits are suspended.

NWS has forecast that winds will be out of the south today at 20-25 mph, gusting to 35 mph, with relative humidity around 20 to 25 percent. Fuels will be critically dry and could support rapid fire growth. Areas impacted include all of north central, northeast and east central Kansas. Winds are expected to remain strong into Tuesday, but increasing moisture should temper the fire danger.

The governor issued the state of emergency due to elevated or critical fire weather expected over the next four days. Tuesday and Wednesday a storm system is forecast to move across the state bringing strong winds that make fire more challenging and dangerous to control. Fuels are extremely dry across the state. Fire behavior has been erratic over the last several days, making suppression difficult.

“It is because wildfires can spring up so suddenly under these conditions that I have put this disaster declaration in place,” Kelly said. “Placing resources such as these helicopters and other resources on standby help the state respond more quickly if a fire begins to spread.”

The declaration authorizes the use of state resources and personnel to assist with response and recovery operations in affected counties that meet certain criteria.

During a red flag warning, citizens are advised to avoid any outdoor burning, and take precautions to not accidentally start wildfires such as by throwing cigarettes out the window.

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