Charles Marvin Parker Obituary

Charles Marvin Parker, age 70, resident of Ft. Scott, Kan., died Wednesday, February 15, 2017, in Belton, Mo. He was born March 26, 1946, in Topeka, Kan., the son of Leland and Alice Algood Parker. Charles served in both the U. S. Army and U. S. Maine Corps. He worked as a restaurant manager and later in lawn service. Also known as “Bucky the Clown,” he received the 2008 Shrine Clown of the Year award. He was a member and past president of the Central State Clown Association and director of the Kansas City Shrine Clowns. He was a member of the Mirza and Ararat Shrine, Past Master of the Masonic Lodge, Past Master of the Scottish Rite, and Past Master of the York Rite.

Obituary

There was cremation. A graveside service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, February 23rd, at the U. S. National Cemetery, Ft. Scott, Kan. Military honors will be provided by the Olson Frary Burkhart Post #1165 V.F.W. Services are under the direction of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, Ft. Scott, Kan. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at cheneywitt.com.

FSCC Begins Baseball Season with Series Win

The Fort Scott Community College Greyhounds baseball team began the season with a three-game series over the weekend, taking two of the three games against Cloud County Community College.

FSCC Baseball

“I was happy with our effort,” coach John Hill III said, adding opening weekend shows how the team would do against an opponent after months of preparation. “I thought we had a very good opening weekend.”

The ‘Hounds took advantage of the wind during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, cruising to a 12-2 win over the Thunderbirds, with home runs from Mackay Williams and Ben McConnell. FSCC was again leading, 3-0, in the third inning of game two before the team had their only bad six innings of the weekend, according to Hill.

With 16 walks, four hit batters and four errors, the ‘Hounds would go on to lose that game, 19-9. But Hill said he was pleased the team was able to turn that around for Sunday’s game, taking a 5-2 win.

“We played a clean game Sunday,” Hill said, saying they were forced to play small ball because of the complete change in wind direction, this time blowing in from the outfield.

Hill said the weekend of competitive games and the extremes in weather, with both warm and cool temperatures as well as the different wind directions, gave the ‘Hounds a good test to begin the season. The ‘Hounds play two more home doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday, and Hill said they look forward to what he hopes will be a successful season.

“As long as we can stay away from injuries, I think we’ll have a good season,” Hill said, though he added they have already lost a couple key players to season-ending injuries.

Hill is in his ninth season of coaching and has led the team to six consecutive seasons of 30 or more wins, tying the franchise record of total 30-win seasons. The remainder of the Greyhounds’ 2017 season schedule can be found at the following link: http://www.fsgreyhounds.com/sports/bsb/2016-17/schedule.

Dancing With Our Stars Raises Funds for Rotary, Charities

The Seventh Annual Dancing With Our Stars, “Battle for the Fort” event raised more than $11,000 Saturday evening, as employees from 10 local businesses danced to a variety of music styles in order to raise funds for area charities.

Dancing With Our Stars

A total of 53 dancers from First Source, Cobalt MedPlans, Friends of the Fort, Citizen’s Bank, Fort Scott Community College, McDonald’s, Medicalodges, LaHacienda, Landmark Bank and Fort Scott Manor danced to tunes ranging from styles from the 1800s to contemporary songs, with dancers dressed to fit the time periods and the styles.

Five awards were presented, with Citizen’s Bank receiving the Most Entertaining, First Source the Best Technical Performance, FSCC the Judges’ Choice, Fort Scott Manor the Charity Spirit of Giving for raising the most funds, and First Source the Battle for the Fort Overall Winner.

This year, the charities represented included the Elks Youth Activities, Care to Share, Friends of the Fort, The Beacon, CASA, Ronald McDonald House, the Alzheimer’s Association, United Way, Care Portal and Lee’s Paws and Claws Animal Shelter.

“This evening is truly a group effort,” rotary member and event organizer Jill Warford said, expressing appreciation to the dancers, attendees and others involved in organizing the event.

In recent years, the event has raised a total of about $85,000. The funds from the ticket prices goes to the Fort Scott Rotary, which has used that funding for a variety of causes around the county, such as providing benches, picnic tables and trash cans at area parks and other venues, as well as for scholarships.

This year’s emcees were Jessica Schenkel and Gregg Motley, while the judges included dance and music instructors Marla Ward, Charlotte Swaim and Judy Schneider.

City Prepares for New Development

The city of Fort Scott looks forward to new changes and developments as businesses and organizations express interest in both downtown buildings and other property around town.

Downtown 2

During the Fort Scott City Commission meeting Tuesday evening, city staff gave reports of some of those interested parties and their plans for buildings such as Memorial Hall, the old La Hacienda structure downtown, the former Spoiled Brat building and a newly annexed piece of property south of El Charro.

In April of 2016, the commission had agreed to work with Last Farmhouse Films, Inc., as they considered renovating Memorial Hall and leasing it in order to promote arts in Fort Scott. Since that time, the group decided to look into purchasing the building outright because of the funding renovating alone would require.

The commission approved giving City Manager Dave Martin the authority to begin preliminary negotiations concerning the sale of Memorial Hall.

Director of Economic Development Rachel Pruitt also presented a project proposal for housing and retail that will go into the Union building in downtown Fort Scott, which formerly housed La Hacienda but in recent years has been vacant.

The Flint Hills Holding Group, which recently completed the apartments in the old Western Insurance building, is now interested in using the Union building, located at 18, 20 and 22 South Main Street, to house the Fort Scott Lofts, which will include 27, one- and two-bedroom units that will not be restricted to a specific age as they are in the Western Senior Living Center. The first floor will also have space for retail, a lobby and a fitness center.

“If we don’t do it, we’re going to lose these buildings,” Martin pointed out.

The structure is expected to bring in 40 residents downtown and 10 new jobs.

The project will cost at least $5.5 million, and the Flint Hills Holding Group requested a seven percent investment from the city, totaling about $400,000. The city’s commitment for funding will increase the chances for the project to be awarded housing tax credits from the state.

The city agreed to give their funding commitment to the project. The amount of money is already available in the economic development fund.

“It looks like a fantastic project,” commissioner Jim Adams said.

The commission also took steps to participate in the preservation of another downtown building, formerly the Spoiled Brat at 124 Wall Street, which has been a hazard for years because of an unsound wall.

Martin said the Horner family has shown interest in preserving the building for a business and second floor living space. Repairing the wall alone will likely cost at least $80,000. If the project becomes more expensive and extensive then originally believed, the potential owners requested that the city commit $30,000, the sum the city would have to pay to tear down the building if nothing is done to repair it.

“We will work very closely with them to make sure what they are doing is right,” Martin said, saying it will not be accomplished overnight as they seek grants and recruit contractors and others to help preserve the building.

The commission unanimously agreed to sign the property preservation agreement, expressing their financial commitment.

The commission also approved the voluntary annexation of about two acres of property located south of El Charro on the east side of Highway 69. Pruitt said a national retailer is interested in using that property for development, but wanted it to be part of the city before they invested.

The commissioners expressed their excitement at the potential projects that may be coming to Fort Scott in the near future. At a Chamber of Commerce event, Martin said they are trying to do the right thing for the city and its residents in each of these projects.

Dunn to Transition from County to City

During Tuesday night’s Fort Scott City Commission meeting, City Manager Dave Martin introduced Rhonda Dunn as the city’s new manager of codes enforcement beginning March 1.

Rhonda Dunn

Shortly after being sworn in January 9, after being reelected as Bourbon County’s Treasurer, Dunn announced that she will begin working with the city of Fort Scott, as the city continues its effort to enforce local codes in order to improve the community’s environment.

“We all drive around in our town and think how it used to be and how it once was,” Dunn said of her decision. “And I figured, you can’t just talk about that, you have to do something about it. I see this as an opportunity for me to help with that.”

Dunn said she will miss being involved in the county, but believes she left a good mark and is leaving the job in good hands with the staff she worked with. Before resigning entirely from the county, Dunn said she will also help train the staff and her replacement.

“It was a really hard decision for me,” Dunn said of her departure from the county. “Because I absolutely love working for the county.”

But Dunn said she is looking forward to improving the community as well as assisting the city in finding ways to utilize surplus property that is currently unused. She added she was ready for a change and the opportunity to hold a position that has room for upward movement, whereas that was unavailable as county treasurer.

“I’m very, very excited, I can’t wait to get to the city,” Dunn said, adding she looks forward to helping the infrastructure of the city move forward by encouraging people to improve their property and the city, not just through penalties but through rewards. “There’s so much going on in Fort Scott and so many good things happening, I feel like there’s a piece here that I can contribute to.”

Martin mentioned at a recent Chamber of Commerce event that the city had been lenient on codes enforcement for more than a decade, leading to areas of town becoming run down or in need of attention due to codes violations. But in recent years, Martin and other staff began to focus on that growing need in the city.

“Our business as the city is not to fine people,” Martin said. “We don’t want to fine people to take care of their property, we want compliance.”

Martin pointed out that some people do not have the means to take care of their homes and properties, and the city wants to connect them with churches or other organizations able to provide assistance. Martin said it is the homeowners that do not care to keep up their property that need stricter enforcement.

Martin said the city believes Dunn is just that person to make sure the codes are properly enforced, saying she “has a vision, can work with HPA [Historic Preservation Association] on buildings, can work with homeowners.”

“She has a heart for Fort Scott and loves the town,” Martin said. “We’re excited and I think she will do a great job.”

Bourbon County leaders and staff said Dunn will be missed. Public works director Jim Harris said he believes Dunn was largely responsible for the excellent management of the road and bridge department’s budget in the past year.

“Road and bridge really appreciates her expertise,” Harris said, saying Dunn met with them monthly and sometimes weekly.

County Commissioner Lynne Oharah expressed appreciation for her help when he needed specific information about finances and the county’s cash flow.

“She’s been a big asset,” Oharah said.

While her job with the city will be her main focus, Dunn will still remain available to assist the county on a part-time basis for the near future. She said she and the city will do all they can to make sure the transition is smooth and that there will be no need for a special election.

Once Dunn does submit her resignation to the governor and the county commissioners, the Bourbon County Republican Party precinct leaders will have 21 days to recommend her replacement, who would then need to be approved by the governor. The new county treasurer would be up for reelection in the next general election in 2018. The annual salary for the treasurer is more than $37,000, while Dunn had received another $10,000 annually for motor vehicle pay. The annual salary for the codes manager ranges from $47,500 to $52,150.