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Longtime housing manufacturing plant, KanBuild, Inc., in Osage City, announced an indefinite shutdown Feb. 18, citing a reduction of demand and laying off its 78 employees. The company auctioned off its tools and vehicles in June.

January

The Pomona Lake Ski Club began 2011 with a decades-old tradition of water skiing on the first day of the year, in 33-degree water and 27-degree air.

The county received its first measurable snow of the season around Jan. 10, about six inches.

The Scranton City Council motioned to send Police Chief Larry Alexander to police academy to obtain credentials to serve as a Kansas law enforcement officer. Alexander had Missouri credentials, where he previously worked for 20 years.

Plans to open a gas and convenience store in Melvern were stalled by the location of a natural gas line. Joyce Lacey wanted to vacate an alley between two lots she owns to create parking for the business.

Burlingame City Council awarded $855,402 contract to Emcon Construction, of Topeka, for the first phase of a sewer improvement project.

Sunday liquor sales were approved by the Overbrook City Council.

Burlingame Historical Preservation Society celebrated Kansas Day with a presentation about the Harvey Girls, women who worked at Harvey Houses along the Santa Fe Railroad.

James R. Garton, 54, Osage City, was killed in a one-vehicle accident on Jan. 18. His vehicle left the road and struck a tree on U.S. 56 Highway one mile north of Osage City.

February

Scranton City Council awarded a $1.84 million construction contract to KC Construction, Inc., of Basehor, for a sewer upgrade project, set to be completed in 2011.

Osage City Police Officer Nathan Purling was honored for life-saving actions while on duty. Purling preventing an attempted suicide by a local woman, gaining entry to her car to save her from dying.

Assistant attorney general Amy Hanley notified James Kraig Kahler and attorneys the state would seek the death penalty in the upcoming capital murder trial. Kahler, 48, was charged with capital murder for the deaths of his wife, Karen, his daughters Emily and Lauren, and Karen’s grandmother, Dorothy Wight. All were shot in Wight’s Burlingame home Nov. 28, 2009.

Frozen pipes caused water to flood the basement of the utility building Feb. 2 at the Osage County Courthouse in Lyndon. Damage was minimized, as the boiler building is no longer used.

An Osage City home was a complete loss after fire destroyed the residence Feb. 2.

Carbondale Attendance Center students Brian Hawkins and Tambour Bieker took top prizes in the county spelling bee Feb. 10 at Burlingame High School.

First-year Osage City Elementary School Principal Ben Coltrane announced his resignation at the Feb. 9 meeting of the USD 420 Board of Education. Coltrane had taken a leave of absence for the remainder of the year.

Long-time housing manufacturing plant, KanBuild, Inc., in Osage City, announced an indefinite shutdown Feb. 18, citing a reduction of demand and laying off its 78 employees. The company later auctioned off its tools and vehicles in June.

Seven county wrestlers, two from Burlingame and five from Santa Fe Trail, wrestled at state meets Feb. 25-26 in Hays and Salina. SFT junior Ed Fitzgerald placed fourth at 215 pounds.

A grocery store survey conducted by the Burlingame City Council received mixed results. “The data does not indicate there is overwhelming support for a grocery store,” the report stated.

March

Around 150 people attended a storm spotter training class conducted by the National Weather Service in Topeka March 2 at the Melvern Community Center.

Replacement of a boxed culvert closed a section of U.S. 56 Highway between Scranton and U.S. 75 from March through June.

Figures released from the 2010 census showed a 2.5 percent reduction in county population from 16,712 to 16,295.

Carbondale City Council heard citizen complaints for the third time since the beginning of the year at the March 7 meeting, where a business accused the department of not responding to calls.

James Kahler’s attorneys announced plans to use his mental state as a defense in the capital murder trial. Kahler was accused of killing four family members in 2009 in Burlingame.

Overbrook drained its water tower following concerns of its structural integrity brought up by residents. The tower was inspected the previous summer, but may have been damaged by winter weather.

The Lyndon boys’ basketball team placed second at the Class 2A State Tournament in Manhattan, the team’s best postseason finish. The Osage City girls’ basketball team qualified for the 3A state tournament.

April

A freight train derailed April 1, one-half mile east of Olivet, causing 21 of the 115 cars to leave the track. Cars carrying sand and agricultural products overturned and were significantly damaged.

County, municipal and school board elections were held April 5. There were 1,973 ballots counted, a turnout of about 18 percent of the county’s 10,764 registered voters.

Blue Bucket BBQ, Topeka, placed first in the eighth annual Smoke in the Spring barbecue competition April 8-9 in Osage City. More than $12,000 in barbecue was sold during weekend.

USD 420 Board of Education hired math teacher Dena Paul as principal of the elementary school for the 2011-12 school year.

Carbondale City Council accepted the resignation of police chief Jon Reed. Burlingame residents and officials planted trees in Sumner Park to celebrate Earth Day.

The Osage County Senior Center hosted its fifth annual senior resource fair April 28, providing check-ups and information to area elders.

An anonymous complaint led to a review of compatibility with the American Disabilities Act at Huffman Park in Osage City.


Part II of the Top Stories of 2011 will be published in the Jan. 5 edition of
The Osage County Herald-Chronicle, beginning with May stories.