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Osage County Senior Center: Play bridge in the morning, mahjong in the afternoon

Hello from the Osage County Senior Center and the Osage County Public Transportation!

We have some things to look forward to in the spring: Quarter bingo to benefit the CASA program on April 2; the spring craft show April 13, and the health fair April 25.

We are having classes to learn how to play bridge at 10 a.m. every Tuesday and Friday; come down and check it out. Don’t forget that we always have our potluck lunch on the first Wednesday of the month.

I am still looking for anyone that might be interested in learning how to play mahjong, 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays – the lessons are going great.

Line dance class is every Friday at 2 p.m. The ceramics class is $5 per class with most supplies furnished. High Rollers is 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Maria from Home Town Health Care is here to call quarter Bingo at 10 a.m. every Tuesday – come and enjoy.

We are doing our shopping trips on the first and third Thursdays of the month to Topeka Walmart, Sam’s and Aldi’s. Call the transportation office to make reservations. I am open to all suggestions for activities and or outings.

See the center’s March calendar of events here (pdf).

For more information, contact the senior center office at 785-528-1170, or Osage County Public Transportation at 785-528-4906, or stop by the center at 604 Market St., Osage City, Kan.

Come and enjoy the fun and activities with us!

Thanks, Franny
Franny Deters, Osage County Senior Center director

Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club celebrates Christmas season with community

On Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, the Melvern community held its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club shared their Christmas caroling with all in attendance for the evening that included Santa Claus arriving on a fire truck, cookie decorating, and community unity.


To help make the Christmas bright for children in Osage County, the Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club purchased an assortment of children’s gifts and donated them to the Osage County Sheriff’s Office’s Toys for Tots toy drive.

Information and photos thanks to Lisa Reeser.


Burlingame invites all to Country Christmas for holiday fun

At a past Country Christmas, the Burlingame Bearcat Band joins the parade after performing during the downtown Christmas tree lighting. File photo.

The Burlingame Schuyler Museum will be open to the public during the annual Burlingame Country Christmas celebration 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. The Burlingame Historical Society along with Burlingame Elementary School will host a Festival of Trees for the celebration. The school will be open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. that day. The museum will have its trees up throughout December. The Christmas room will feature an area for photo ops. Everyone is invited to hunt the snowmen in the museum and win a prize.

The historical society is providing a lunch counter with a seating area in the Schuyler Community Center. The menu will be a choice of Sloppy Joe, hot dog, Mac and cheese, baked beans, chips, and beverages. Serving will start at 8:30 a.m. with breakfast burritos and cinnamon rolls. The community center will be full of crafters and vendors for a great variety of Christmas shopping. A beautiful queen size quilt will be raffled at the community center. The fire department will be hosting an open house with refreshments, prizes, tours of the station, and “meet your fireman” 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

The lighted Country Christmas parade begins around 6 p.m. in downtown Burlingame. The annual Christmas celebration features a full day of fun, and everyone is invited.

Burlingame spreads Christmas cheer with holiday home tour

 John and Audrey Ross’ home at 141 W. Fremont St., Burlingame, is one of the homes featured on Burlingame Historical Society’s annual Christmas home tour.

The Burlingame Historical Society will host a holiday home tour, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, during Burlingame’s Country Christmas celebration. Tickets will be available at Schuyler Museum and each home on the tour.

John and Audrey Ross and daughters Gabby, Karah, Maelee, and Reagan have lived in their 1889 Queen Anne Victorian home at 141 W. Fremont St. for four years. The family is rounded out with Annie the dog and Thor the cat.

John works as chief of police at Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority and is in the Kansas Army National Guard. Audrey is a therapist at Christ First Counseling center.

The family enjoys spending time together and watching the girls play sports and dance.

The study and den is decorated formally with a classical tree; The living room tree is a “fun” tree done with the kids collected and homemade ornaments. The master bedroom is displayed as a “Cozy Christmas”, and the foyer is done in Santa Clauses.

Happy Thanksgiving from Osage County Senior Center

Hello from the Osage County Senior Center and the Osage County Public Transportation – where things are happening.

We will be closed Nov. 23 and 24 for Thanksgiving, so we want to wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Our potluck will be at noon Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023. It will be the center’s Christmas meal with turkey and ham furnished. Everyone is encouraged to bring a side dish and join us for food, music and good company.

We are trying to learn line dancing every Tuesday at 2 p.m.; come join us, it will be interesting. The ceramics class is up and going it is $5 per class, most supplies are furnished. High Rollers is on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at 2 p.m. Maria, from Home Town Health Care, is here to call quarter bingo every Tuesday at 10 a.m.

We are going to the casino on Nov. 28, leaving at 9 a.m. Call now for reservations.

We are doing our shopping trips on the first and third Thursdays of the month, going to Topeka Walmart, Sam’s and Aldi’s. Riders need to call public transportation to make reservations.

Anyone who is in need of walkers or wheel chairs should check with the center, as we do have quite a few to give out.

I am open to all suggestions for activities and or outings.

The center can be rented for events. The rental price will be going up the first of January to $75 a day.

Come and enjoy the fun and activities with us!

For more information, contact the center at 604 Market St., Osage City, or call the office at 785-528-1170, or public transportation at 785-528-4906.

Thanks, Franny
Franny Deters, Osage County Senior Center director

St. Patrick’s to celebrate its Scranton history by opening 106-year-old time capsule

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church will celebrate its 168 years of history in Scranton, Kan., with the opening of a 106-year-old time capsule that was placed when the congregation’s second church was built in 1917. St. Patrick’s is inviting the public to the opening of the time capsule, which had been sealed in the cornerstone of the church at 302 S. Boyle St., Scranton. The public is invited to the time capsule opening, which will be 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, at Scranton Attendance Center, 104 S. Burlingame Ave., Scranton.

Opening of the 106-year-old time capsule will also be part of the celebration of the fifth anniversary of the dedication of the new and current church building at 400 E. Bracken St.

Beginning in 1855, Mass was held in various homes in Scranton, the courthouse in Burlingame, and homes in Carbondale, before a small wooden church was built in Scranton in 1877. This church was torn down and replaced with a larger brick building in 1917. When the brick church was built, parishioners place a sealed copper box that contained the history of Scranton and St. Patrick’s Church, daily newspapers from Scranton and other areas, and various other items and hallmarks, beneath the cornerstone.

In 2018, due to the former church’s foundational problems, a new church was built. When the old church building was torn down, the time capsule was removed and placed in storage.

The time capsule opening ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, but doors will be open 1:30 to 3 p.m. at Scranton Attendance Center for browsing and reminiscing on St Patrick’s Catholic Church’s 168 years of history in the Scranton area. The sharing of memories, generational stories, and photos will be appreciated.

For more information, contact St. Patrick’s Catholic Church at 785-793-2735, or 400 E. Bracken St., Scranton, KS 66537.

Osage County Senior Center: Breakfast, lunch and shopping trips scheduled

Hello from the Osage County Senior Center and the Osage County Public Transportation. I am sad to say that we did not place in the Sunflower and Scarecrow Contest at the Kansas State Fair.

The Sewing Chicks have a beautiful fall quilt up for a raffle, so stop in and get your tickets. Don’t forget the potluck lunch on Oct. 4; we eat at noon. A blood drive is 2-6 p.m. Oct. 5; donors are encouraged to stop in a sign up.

The Breakfast Club is going to Lamont Hill at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 13. The Lunch Bunch is going to Smoked Creations, in Ottawa, at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 27. We are taking a bus to the senior fair in Emporia on Oct. 18. Anyone interested in going should give us a call to get your name on the list. Shopping trips to Topeka are on the first and third Thursdays of each month. Call to make reservations.

On Oct. 26, John McGrath will be here to help with choosing the right Medicare Supplement plan. He will be available 9 a.m.-12 p.m.; stop in and make the right plan for you. Herms Foot care is here Oct. 19 and 24.

We are going to try and learn to Line Dance every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Come join us, it will be interesting. The ceramics class is up and going it is $4 per class, with most supplies furnished.

High Rollers is 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursday. Home Town Health Care is here to call quarter Bingo at 10 a.m. every Tuesday; all invited to come and enjoy.

The senior center is in need of donations of buttons and lace. If anyone has any they would like to donate, we would love to have them.

I am open to all suggestions for activities and or outings. Don’t forget that we rent out the center for events that need larger accommodations. Come and enjoy the fun and activities with us!

Thanks, Franny!
Franny Deters, Osage County Senior Center director

Bow-angler breaks 40-year state record for spotted gar

BIG HILL RESERVOIR, Kan. – A lucky bow-angler from Parsons, Kan., has officially broken a 40-year state record for spotted gar in Kansas. Michael Starr Jr. was fishing at Big Hill Reservoir, Labette County, in late July when he successfully reeled in a 34.5-inch spotted gar weighing 7.98 pounds.

Michael Starr Jr. shows his state record catch, a 34.5-inch, 7.98-pound spotted gar. KDWP photo.

The previous Kansas state record for spotted gar was held by bow-angler Charles Harbert, of Arma, when he caught a 33.5-inch, 7.75-lb spotted gar from the Chetopa Dam in 1983.

Spotted gar derive the name from trademark dark, round spots on the top and sides of its head. Most are less than 30 inches long, but like other gar species, it’s covered with a tough armor of thick, heavy scales. There are three native species of gar in Kansas. The spotted gar is the smallest and can be found in the southeastern part of the state.

How state records are set

Trophy catches such as these end up as a Kansas State Record if:

  • The fish is a species recognized on the current list of Kansas state record fish.
  • The fish is caught by a licensed angler using legal means.
  • The fish is identified by a Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks district fisheries biologist or regional fisheries supervisor.
  • The fish is weighed on a certified scale prior to being frozen.
  • The fish is photographed, in color, and a state record application is filled out.
  • The mandatory 30-day waiting period has passed.

Zion Lutheran Church celebrates its heritage with annual Germanfest

Zion Lutheran Church, Vassar, Kan., will celebrate its German heritage with a special event planned by members 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023. The community event is open to the public.

Members of Zion Lutheran Church from left to right, Toni Wendling, Donna Silver and Larry Wendling dressed in authentic German attire for the church’s Germanfest celebration. Courtesy photo.

German bierocks, potato salad and strudel will be featured menu items during the event. Live polka music by “The Alpen Spielers” will be provided during the day with a beer garden touting authentic German beer. Hand-crafted items will be offered for sale by local vendors. Also, a children’s area with German themed activities will be available.

There is no admission charge at the celebration, which is held on the square block area to the west of Zion Lutheran Church in Vassar.

The church was formally organized almost 130 years ago in 1893 as “Die deutsche evangelishche lutherische Germeinde ungeaenderter Augsburgischer Knfession zu Vassar, Osage County, Kansas,” translated to English, “The German Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of the unaltered Augsburg Confession.”

However, the beginnings of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church were in 1884. Several Lutheran families in the area of the not yet organized town of Vassar, which was platted in 1886, requested that the Lutheran minister Rev. F. Pennekamp from St. John’s Lutheran Church, in Topeka, Kan., come to preach God’s Word and baptize their children.

Chamber Chatter: Crouchers earn yard of month award for July

Even with the lack of rain and the hot days, many of the homes landscaping have been kept up with many hours of attention. Each month, the Chamber selects a yard to show appreciation of the beauty and hard work by the homeowners. The honorees receive $25 in Chamber Bucks to be used at an Osage City participating business. Announced as July’s winner was Gregg and Cheryl Croucher’s yard, at 834 Main St., Osage City. The beauty of their floral arrangements extends from the front of their home around to their back yard. The back yard includes a neatly kept garden, floral arrangements surrounding the house and out building. Gregg and Cheryl have lived in their home for 18 years.

Ribbon cuttings mark progress in area business community

The Osage City Chamber of Commerce has been busy in the last month with ribbon cuttings celebrating new business ownership, renovations and reopenings.

June 28, 2023, COF Training Services held a grand opening of its newly renovated facility, which updated accommodations for individuals served. Renovations included a kitchen, alternative day programing area, updated restrooms, laundry facility, arts and crafts, exercise areas and contract work area.

New owners Kent and Erin Schaper cut the ribbon at Osage Building Materials.

Under new ownership, Osage Building Materials held a grand reopening and ribbon cutting on June 29, 2023. Kent and Erin Schaper are new owners of the Osage City hardware store and lumber yard. They also own Arrowhead Hardware, in Baldwin City. Kent and Erin said they are excited to be a part of the community and look forward to serving customers throughout Osage County for years to come. The event included a discount off all in stock, in store merchandise, participants enjoyed ice cream, give aways, refreshments, special offers and balloons.

Henry’s Coffee House: Owner Nathan Willis, center, with Chamber members Roger Mersmann and Joe Humerickhouse.

The Osage City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting July 6, 2023, for its newest member, Henry’s Coffee House. Henry’s is not a brand new business, having been open at 413 Market St. for a little more than two years. Joining the Chamber marks a milestone in Henry’s efforts to expand its business and make itself a central gathering spot for the community. Henry’s has added more food items to its lineup and has expanded its hours to be open seven days a week, and has future plans to expand to a larger space.


From the director: ‘You’re never too old to learn something new’

I invited Chamber members to submit an interesting fact about their business for me to include in my “Did You Know” article for this month. I had several responses and look forward to sharing them with you.

KDHE lifts blue green algae health advisory for Pomona Lake

POMONA LAKE, Kan. – A blue green algae public health advisory for Pomona Lake has been lifted after the Osage County lake had been under a warning status since June 8, 2023. Blue green algae advisories are lifted when cell densities and toxin concentrations dissipate to levels below watch thresholds.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks usually update public health advisories weekly. Pomona Lake’s warning advisory was lifted June 22.

Harmful algal blooms can look like foam, scum or paint floating on the water and be colored blue, bright green, brown or red. Blooms can develop rapidly. If the water appears suspicious or there is decaying algae on the shore, avoid contact and keep dogs away. These toxins can be absorbed by ingestion, inhalation of aerosols and even skin contact. Symptoms vary depending upon the type of exposure (such as direct contact, ingestion, inhalation) but can include rash, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, and headache. Anyone or dogs that come into contact with algae should rinse the area with clean, fresh water. Suspected HAB-related health incidents, whether human or animal, regardless of season, should be reported at kdhe.ks.gov/1163.

Kansas lakes listed on the warning list this week are Cedar Lake, Johnson County, Harvey County East Lake, Harvey County, Lake Afton, Sedgwick County, Marion Lake (Reservoir), Marion County, Lovewell Lake (Reservoir), Jewell County, Webster Lake (Reservoir), Rooks County, and Wellington Lake, Sumner County. Under watch status are Augusta Santa Fe Lake, Butler County, Dorner Park Lake, Sedgwick County, and Lake Parsons, Neosho County.

A hazard status indicates that a harmful algal bloom is present, and extreme conditions exist. A warning status indicates that conditions are unsafe for human and pet exposure; contact with the water should be avoided. A watch status means that blue-green algae have been detected and a harmful algal bloom is present or likely to develop.

Hidden History: Burlingame firemen fight to keep town from extinguishing

Burlingame was the earliest, lasting community within Osage County, Kansas, and was also the site of the first county seat. As the county figured out how to manage growth that nearly doubled the area in the early 1870s, the county seat was shifted to Lyndon, much to the dismay of Burlingame. How could they wrest the title back? What improvements or services could they do that would bring it back? Every community faced the demon of fire, and in 1876, the year after the county seat was taken from them, Burlingame established an organized fire department – something that Lyndon did not have.

Earliest citizens had to rely on their own townspeople to form bucket brigades in case of fire, but that was a slow and intensive process that wasn’t successful against the fiercest of fires. As time passed, some businesses and residences had access to extinguishers, but whether or not they could be afforded, or even easily located in case of a disaster, was another thing entirely.

Organization of two fire companies in 1876 was seemingly progress, but posed its own challenges. Volunteers for the companies were primarily from the Burlingame Guards, the town’s militia, and while the numbers were seemingly impressive, getting those who had promised their service to show up to actually fight fires was problematic. The numbers for the two companies fluctuated wildly. Burlingame would have a at least one company, and then it didn’t have either. People joked that when the volunteers did follow through, the city council would have to offer bribes of payment to the first company to perform their promised duty. And when they did show up, response times were terribly poor, and the losses were great.

Reading School alumni plan 2023 banquet

The annual Reading Alumni Banquet will be held Saturday, June 3, 2023, in the gymnasium.  Registration and time to mingle with friends and classmates will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner at 6:30. Back by popular demand, The Miracle Cafe will be providing a delicious meal.

Special honored classes are: 1973 (50th), 1963 (60th) and 1948 (75th). Bright orange postcards were mailed to those alumni with addresses on file. Attendees are asked to bring their registration card or contact Reta (Kinslow) Jackson at PO Box 103, Reading, KS 66868, or call Reta at 620-340-5347. Anyone who attended school at Reading or served as staff are encouraged to attend.

The cost of the meal and registration for the night is $18. People are also welcome to pay at the door.

Memorial Day: Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club honors those who have served

Photo: MJH 4-H club members hang flags on servicemembers’ graves at the Melvern Cemetery.

By Bella Reeser

On Thursday, May 25, 2023, at the Quenemo Cemetery, and on Friday, May 26, 2023, at the Melvern Cemetery, members of the Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club helped organizers hang flags on the graves of fallen servicemen and servicewoman. Members felt privileged to honor those who have served.


Osage County Cemeteries: Map and list

No Name No. 8 Cemetery, near Lamont Hill. Photo by Jan Williams.

In cooperation with the Osage County Historical Society, Osage County News has published online a list of Osage County cemeteries and their locations. The historical society had previously published similar information in a brochure, and volunteers of the society updated the list.

Osage County News has also created a map that shows the general locations of the cemeteries, which are listed with directions on the reverse side of the map. A printable version of the two-page map and cemetery list is available here.

When visiting the cemeteries listed, visitors are advised that some are on private property and property owners’ privacy should be respected. Not all cemeteries are located on all-weather roads, and some are in remote locations in Osage County; visitors should watch weather conditions and be aware of possible road hazards. Use of a highway map or GPS device to assist with navigation when trying to locate cemeteries is also advised.

Overbrook Rural High School plans annual reunion; former students, teachers, staff invited

An Overbrook Rural High School All-School Reunion will be 2-4 p.m. Saturday, May 20, 2023, at the Overbrook Public Library. All former students, teachers, and staff members are invited.

The informal gathering is casual and will be a time to visit and reminisce. Attendees are encouraged to bring their ORHS Annuals and other memorabilia of high school days. Light refreshments will be served.

Registrations are due by May 16; registration is $5 per person, payable at the event. To register, call or text Mary Ann (Vanderslice) Leslie at 214-773-5246 (include name and the number attending), or register by email at mavleslie48@yahoo.com.

Get into a rut with Lyon County history

Update: The Lyon County Santa Fe Trail Bus Tour scheduled for April 22 is sold out so another one has been scheduled for Saturday, April 29. Tickets for the April 29 tour are $30 and are available only online at explorelyoncounty.org. The ticket includes lunch. The tour time is 5-6 hours. Seating is limited.

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A free history program at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 20, 2023, will feature Jan Huston and her video of Lyon County history, and images from the 1972 archaeological dig of the Rock Creek trading post, where Bloody Bill Anderson murdered Judge A. I. Baker and burned Agnes City in 1862. The program will be at the Trail Days Arts & History Center, 803 W. Main St., Council Grove, Kan.

The following Saturday, April 22, a 5-6 hour bus tour of the Santa Fe Trail in Lyon County, guided by Jan Huston and LeRoy Boline, will include local stage stations, trading posts and people who made history on the trail. For more information, or to reserve a bus tour seat, call 620-340-6310, or see  explorelyoncounty.org. Reservation deadline for the bus tour is April 18.

The April 20 program and the bus tour are sponsored by the Lyon County History Center, the North-Lyon County Museum, and the Heart of the Flint Hills Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association.

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.

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