(Top Stories of
2011, Part I - May through August, click here.)
Area citizens gathered for the fifth annual Senior Resource
Fair, held at the Osage County Senior Center, where area businesses
and agencies displayed and demonstrated services and products
they offer to senior citizens.
The Osage City Council learned accessibility improvements
at Huffman Park could cost as much as $50,000, and force the
closure of the current park access, to resolve an anonymous
complaint about handicap accessibility in the park.
Kelsi Wiscombe’s graduation from Washburn University’s
School of Nursing marked the fourth such degree earned by
members of her family in recent years. Her sister and two
cousins all received nursing degrees from Washburn.
Following resignation of its police chief and appointment
of an interim chief in April, Carbondale City Council continued
to field complaints about the police department and its operations.
One council member presented information about contracting
with the sheriff’s office for law enforcement services.
Scranton seated two new council members, Randy Ming and Robert
Sims, amid an ongoing sewer renovation project and reports
of disagreement with a citizen about easement access to an
A traffic stop in Carbondale led to the arrest of four individuals
suspected of being involved in local thefts, after stolen
property was found in the car. Three of the suspects were
also arrested in connection with possession of methamphetamine
and other charges.
Overbrook looked forward to the end of a street renovation
project that affected most of the main thoroughfares in the
Area school districts looked at ways to cut costs after Governor
Sam Brownback proposed reducing state aid to schools in the
2011-2012 state budget.
A former Osage City Council member, Jason Croucher, was sentenced
to more than 17 years in federal prison after pleading guilty
to two counts of receiving or distributing child pornography
and one count of possessing child pornography.
The Scranton City Council rejected its mayor’s appointment
of Larry Alexander as police chief. Alexander remained in
the city’s employment without mayoral appointment.
A cool and quiet May was interrupted with tornadoes that damaged
buildings in Quenemo and destroyed the town of Reading.
Osage County commissioners awarded an ambulance services contract
to TECHS Inc., at an annual cost of $479,000. The contract
increased the number of full-time ambulances stationed in
the county from one to two. The county’s previous contract
with American Medical Response for one ambulance stationed
in the county cost about $190,000. The new ambulance service
will take over on Jan. 1.
The Osage City High School Lady Indians softball team won
the state 3A softball title during a tournament at the Twin
Oaks Complex, in Manhattan.
The city of Reading was granted a declaration of federal loan
assistance in the aftermath of the May 21 tornado that destroyed
The Burlingame City Council accepted the resignation of part-time
police officer Anthony Richman, 38, after he was charged with
burglary of a rural residence and theft of city-owned gasoline.
As other highway construction was ongoing in the county, the
state announced renovation of state Highway 31 from Osage
City to U.S. Highway 75 was on the list of projects in the
state’s 10-year highway plan. The renovation of the
seven-mile stretch of road was estimated to cost $14 million
and expected to begin no sooner than 2014.
Contractors and home builders gathered at the former Kan-Build
manufacturing plant to bid on tools, vehicles and supplies
as part of liquidation of the closed business’ assets.
An engineering firm advised the city of Lyndon that the city’s
infrastructure could support added development on the north
side of the city, but estimated extending sewer and water
lines to a proposed residential and commercial development
could cost as much as $1 million.
Melvern’s mayor announced plans of several new businesses
expected to open in the city, including a convenience store,
storage facility and recreational vehicle park.
Three male subjects were arrested in northern Osage County,
suspected of running a clandestine marijuana growing operation,
after they were apprehended during a manhunt on the rural
property that abuts U.S. Highway 75. Authorities said the
suspects appeared to be living on the property.
As work finished on a pedestrian and horse bridge over U.S.
Highway 75, a group of horse riders traversed the bridge and
traveled west on the Flint Hills Nature Trail from near Vassar
to Osage City and the county line.
Osage County Sheriff Laurie Dunn met with the Scranton City
Council to answer questions about the possibility of the sheriff’s
office providing law enforcement services for the city.
Melvern hosted its third annual 5K walk and run on its recently
developed riverfront trails.
Blake Treinen, an Osage City native, was drafted as a major
league baseball pitcher for the Oakland Athletics.
A district court judge ruled that James Kraig Kahler, accused
of killing his wife, two daughters and his wife’s grandmother
in Burlingame, will face the death penalty if convicted of
the crimes. Osage County Sheriff Laurie Dunn announced special
security measures would be implemented during Kahler’s
trial set to begin in August.
Osage City’s city manager, Nick Hernandez, announced
his resignation, after being offered a job in the same position
at Arkansas City.
A citizens group at Carbondale announced a new library might
be in the town’s future if funding for the project can
be secured. The city’s current library is housed in
435 square feet of space in city hall.
A Scranton resident proposed that she would carry a petition
in support of the city’s police chief. Council members
did not respond to Paula Schuler’s request for two week’s
time to collect signatures on the petition.
Lyndon Saddle Club, Osage County Fire District No. 5 and the
city of Lyndon hosted a fireworks display at the saddle club
arena, drawing spectators from across the county for the July
The Kansas Department Social Rehabilitation Services announced
that its office in Lyndon would be one of nine across the
state closed as part of the agency’s restructuring.
Officials with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks
confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Melvern Lake. Evidence
of adults of the invasive species were found in four foot
of water in the Melvern marina cove.
The Osage City Council voted to discard a trail project through
the city that had been planned for years, along with previous
expenditures of $289,000 for development and design, and state
transportation enhancement funds that had been designated
by Kansas Department of Transportation for the project since
The Osage County Historical Society discovered the original
deed to land that became Lyndon’s town site, in boxes
of files of a Lyndon attorney from the 1920s and 1930s. The
deed showed the signature of U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant,
although it was suspected it was not actually Grant’s
signature, but likely that of his secretary. The document
was dated June 15, 1871.
Osage City hosted the second and biggest of the county’s
three fairs, featuring a parade, fireworks display, talent
show, carnival and demolition derby. Melvern had opened the
county’s fair season in June, with its annual Sunflower
Days event and county fair.
Melvern City Council considered a study conducted to evaluate
traffic and children’s safety in the school zone along
the town’s main street.
The Osage City Arts Council presented a concert featuring
Jeff Davidson and the Trail Rider Band in celebration of Kansas’
USD 420 Board of Education members approved a resolution authorizing
an election for voters to decide to whether to issue $4.5
million in bonds for expansion and renovation at the elementary
school, and athletic facilities expansions including options
for adding seating in the auxiliary gymnasium, constructing
a gymnasium, and construction of a track.
Jury selection began for the trial of James Kraig Kahler,
accused of killing his wife, two daughters and his wife’s
grandmother in Burlingame. About 300 Osage County residents
were summoned to the Lyndon High School gymnasium, where they
filled out questionnaires as the first step in the selection
of the jury.
Osage County residents suffered in a heat wave in which 100-degree
days were recorded during 10 consecutive days.
The Osage City Council offered little hope to supporters of
a long-planned trail project that the council had scrapped
in June. A representative of the Osage City Chamber of Commerce
presented a statement saying the Chamber supported offering
the public a chance to vote on whether the project should
continue, but the council took no action on the Chamber’s
About 100 volunteers showed up to work at a half-dozen sites
in Osage City in an effort to better the community. About
half of the volunteers worked on the section of the Flint
Hills Nature Trail that passes through the city.
Overbrook geared up to host the third county fair of the season,
with events including two parades, a carnival, country music
show and tractor and pedal pull competitions.
Carbondale was the site of a three-city National Night Out,
which was hosted by Carbondale, Scranton and Overbrook law
enforcement and emergency personnel. The event offered free
hamburgers and hot dogs, free admission to the Carbondale
swimming pool, and fingerprinting for the Ident-A-Kid program.
Osage County commissioners approved the 2012 budget with a
3.685 mill levy increase and an approximate $2.5 million increase
The jury trial for James Kraig Kahler, accused of killing
his wife, two daughters and his wife’s grandmother in
Burlingame, got under way in Lyndon, with Kahler’s son
testifying he saw his father shoot his mother. Another witness,
a sheriff’s deputy, testified about how he tried to
comfort one of the dying victims after the 2009 shootings.
The Osage City Council voted to give eight property owners
120 days to abate conditions of properties that had been declared
unsafe or hazardous by the city’s enforcement officer.
USD 420 Board of Education heard that hurdles had been cleared
to use land near Osage City’s Jones Park for constructing
athletic facilities as part of a proposed $4.5 million bond
issue. The school district had gained tentative approval for
use of the land from co-authorities Kansas Department of Wildlife
and Parks and the city of Osage City.
Downtown Osage City was shut off to traffic as police arrested
a burglary suspect found in Schroeder Drugs. The man, Kelley
M. Beard, threatened to shoot officers, but was found to only
have a knife after officers subdued him with a Taser. Beard
was booked into jail on counts of burglary, theft, criminal
damage to property, and assault on law enforcement officers.
An Osage County jury was told James Kraig Kahler suffered
from mental illness when he shot and killed his wife, two
daughters and his wife’s grandmother in Burlingame during
the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Following two weeks
of testimony, jurors deliberated two hours and 15 minutes
before returning verdicts of guilty on charges of capital
murder, first degree murder, and aggravated burglary. Afterward,
after deliberating for 55 minutes, the jury recommended Kahler
be sentenced to death for the capital murder conviction.