Upcoming events in Fort Scott

A number of announcements concerning upcoming community events were shared during the weekly Chamber Coffee Thursday morning. Stay up to date on these events and more by visiting the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism website.

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This week’s Chamber Coffee event was hosted at the Public Safety Building and and also took time to recognize the local police and fire departments and dispatch for their service to the city for more than a century.

  • The Young Professionals League will hold their July luncheon Friday at noon at Papa Don’s, delayed a week because of the holiday weekend. Published author Michael Smith will be the guest speaker. The YPL will then hold a social gathering at the Vinedo Del Alamo Winery for a wine-tasting event Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
  • The annual Marmaton Massacre will again be held at Gunn Park as a two-day event, Saturday and Sunday, and will include activities such as live music, camping, a kids’ race as well as the marathon and bike trials on Saturday and the main event and category races on Sunday. Cyclists and even others not interested in the races are invited to come to the park and enjoy the family-friendly festivities.
  • On Tuesday, July 12, the Beaux Arts Centre will host the quarterly, downtown meet and greet at 8:30 a.m. Representatives from downtown businesses as well as members of the community interested in gathering information are encouraged to attend.
  • My Father’s House will hold a fundraising pancake breakfast Saturday July 16, beginning at 9 a.m., with the meal costing $5 per adult and $3 for children.
  • A Texas Hold ‘Em event will be held Saturday July 16, at 3 p.m. as a fundraiser to raise about $5,500 for new uniforms for the Fort Scott High School girls’ basketball team.
  • CrossFit Fort Scott will celebrate its first year in the city with a birthday celebration and kickball tournament Saturday July 23, at 10 a.m. at Gunn Park. Teams and other members of the community are encouraged to come participate.
  • The candidate forum for the August 2, election is tentatively scheduled for Monday July 25, to be hosted by the Chamber of Commerce at the Ellis Fine Arts Center at Fort Scott Community College.
  • With the Bark in the Park dog park nearing completion at Gunn Park, a ribbon-cutting and grand opening event is scheduled to be held Saturday August 6, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will include free pet toys, snacks and even a dog costume and best trick contest for those who attend.
  • Fort Scott Community College will host their annual Black and White Gala on August 13. Fewer than 100 tickets remain and should be purchased as soon as possible.

City Commission approves technological improvements

During their first July meeting, the Fort Scott City Commission approved a series of recommendations from financial director Jon Garrison and director of informational technology Dustin McClure to improve the efficiency of the technology among the public buildings.

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The three requests the commission unanimously approved included changes to the city website, economic development website, fiber systems and phone system. While some of the items require the city to commit sums of money to the improvements, others will save the city even larger amounts in upcoming years.

The planning process to update the current phone system to a digital program began a couple years ago and, although it will cost $20,000 initially, the city would then save about $46,000 each year. The phone lines will move away from the current 62 lines used between the city buildings.

“We are able to improve our technology but also save quite a bit of money,” Garrison said of the change.

In recent years, the city also got a high-speed fiber network through Suddenlink, but now needs to expand that reach. By working with the county and United School District 234, the city will be able to connect their own fiber system with the other taxing entities’ to connect city hall to other places such as the police station and public works facility.

“It just opens up a wide variety of benefits, not only for us, but for the school and the county,” Garrison said, while McClure emphasized the shared lines will not compromise security from the other entities and will be redundant enough that, if a line went down, the entities would not each lose their systems.

This project will cost about $60,000 and is available in the city budget.

City Manager Dave Martin said having the high-speed fiber network is key to the city moving forward, especially by connecting them to the police department.

The final project approved by the commission included hiring Civic Plus to make updates to the city website for a total of $46,014 stretched over three years. The changes would allow visitors to the website to accomplish more such as receiving or giving information. Martin said a city’s website is often crucial for businesses or potential visitors considering coming to Fort Scott.

“We feel very strongly that it’s something we need to do to continue moving the city forward,” Garrison said.

The city also heard a report from Director of Economic Development Heather Smith concerning her plan to separate the economic development website from the city’s, apart from sharing a link, so that economic information can be found readily without being lost in other city details. Smith said she plans to work with the area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism on the site.

Kids invited to a fun week at National Historic Site during Trailblazer Program

Submitted July 1

Calling all kids in Fort Scott and the surrounding area! Are you bored sitting around the house playing video games this summer? Are you looking for something fun and exciting to do? Do you like to dig in the dirt? Or act in a play? How about doing scavenger hunts or looking through old buildings?

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Photo Credit: Fort Scott National Historic Site

All of these activities will be offered as part of Fort Scott National Historic Site’s Trailblazer program for youth from ages 9-12. Participants can sign up for one of two weeks, July 18–22 or August 1–5, with programs running from 8:30 a.m. to noon each of those days.

During the week, youth will dig for buried treasure, explore the fascinating creatures and plants of the prairie, go green and have fun. The program will attempt to answer the question: “Kids, will they love National Parks?” We hope by the end of this week that the response will be yes!

A new and exciting element this year is an artist workshop. Youth will be guided by a professional artist in creating National Park Service inspired paintings, drawings, etc., that they will show off to their parents.

Registration for the workshop is underway. To register, contact Fort Scott National Historic Site at (620) 223-0310. Participants must be aged 9-12 years as of the beginning day of the camp. They will be sent an informational packet after registration is complete. There is no charge for the workshop.

FSCC Students Shine at SkillsUSA National Competition

Submitted June 29

Two Fort Scott Community College students earned medals at the 52nd annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference held in Louisville, Ky., on June 22 and 23.

Photo Credit: FSCC. Pictured from left to right: Nacoma Oehme, FSCC Program Industry Coordinator; Mack O’Dell, FSCC student; Matt Volmer, FSCC student; and Kim Coates, FSCC Carpentry Instructor.
Photo Credit: FSCC. Pictured from left to right: Nacoma Oehme, FSCC Program Industry Coordinator; Mack O’Dell, FSCC student; Matt Volmer, FSCC student; and Kim Coates, FSCC Carpentry Instructor.

Matt Volmer, FSCC Construction Trades student, competed in the college carpentry division and earned first place for the second year in a row. Mack O’Dell competed in the high school masonry division and earned third place. O’Dell is a Pittsburg High School student who is receiving dual college credit through a program at FSCC.

“We are extremely proud of Matt and Mack. They have worked diligently over the past several months to prepare for the national competition, and their hard work and dedication paid off,” said Nacoma Oehme, FSCC Program Industry Coordinator.

SkillsUSA is a national organization that serves high school and college students who are preparing for careers in technical, skilled and service occupations. SkillsUSA programs include local, state and national competitions in which students demonstrate occupational and leadership skills.

For more information about carpentry, masonry or other occupational programs at Fort Scott Community College, please contact Judy Meister, FSCC Occupational Recruiter, at (620) 223-2700, ext. 5247.


Fort Scott celebrates Independence Day despite wet weather

Despite the scattering of rain throughout the weekend, residents of Fort Scott still had ample opportunity to celebrate the holiday weekend with fireworks, anniversaries, historic activities and other events.

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The Fort Scott Fire Department used the weekend to celebrate their 125th anniversary Saturday by grilling hot dogs and inviting the community to come view the station and old equipment, including a truck from the 1940s, gear that is now out-dated and even illegal to use because of improved technology and records stretching as far back as the 1920s.

First Baptist Church of Fort Scott also celebrated an anniversary with a Saturday night gala, special Sunday service and opening of a time capsule as well as festivities at Gunn Park Sunday afternoon in honor of their 150th anniversary.

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The Fort Scott National Historic Site provided activities Saturday through Sunday, including characters dressed up in period clothing and demonstrations of different aspects of the fort and its history.

The second annual Wounded Warrior Classic also brought in a number of high school baseball teams and provided Sunday evening activities at the LaRoche Baseball Complex, while the city also put on a fireworks show that evening and then held the annual Burke Street parade the following morning.

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