March 29, 2020 Public Update COVID-19

For more information:
2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Kansas Test Results
Updated 3/29/20 at 10 a.m.

Total Positive Cases
Private Labs
Kansas Health and Environmental Lab (KHEL)

Deaths (included in above numbers)
KDHE does not release locations of deaths.

Out-of-State Resident Positive Cases* (not counted in KS #s)

Total Negative Cases for Kansans

Positive Case Information
County Number

*Ford and Miami Counties reported positive cases in out-of-state residents.
**1 case in Douglas and 2 cases in Crawford are presumptive positive at a reference lab, but were not confirmed through the KDHE lab, so are included in the county numbers, but not in the overall state total or demographics at this time.




Age Range
Age range on patients is 4 to 95 years of age, with a median age of 56.

55 hospitalizations to date reported*
* this is a cumulative number, based on 199 cases where information is available.

Lift Up Your Head by Pastor Jimmy Tucker

The Bottom Line

Pastor Jimmy Tucker


Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways!” (Romans 11:33 NLT). There are many things in the Bible that we can’t explain or even understand. Satan tries to use these things to shake our faith, but it helps to know that we’re not expected to understand, but to believe. God has given enough evidence for us to believe if we want to. But God never removes the possibility of doubt.

It’s impossible for us to fully comprehend God and His ways. Even for the smartest and most-highly educated, God remains behind a cloud of mystery. We can only understand as much as He reveals to us. Beyond that, we continue to trust His Holy Spirit, Who is full of love and wants us to know Him better.

The Apostle Peter says “…Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction” (2 Peter 3:16 NLT). 

Skeptics use the hard-to-understand portions of Scripture as arguments against the Bible and the God who authored it. But if the Bible could be easily understood and God’s greatness and majesty could be grasped by finite human beings, then the Bible would lose its divine authority and God’s great glory would be diminished. So, the skeptic’s arguments intended to show the Bible false, actually provide a strong evidence of the Bible’s divine inspiration and God’s greatness.

God has made the plan of salvation plain enough for us to take the necessary steps of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is for those who will humble themselves as a child and obey His Holy Spirit. Behind these simple truths are mysteries that overwhelm human understanding. Such as Jesus being born of a virgin, the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I say with Mary the mother of Jesus, “How can these things be?” But also like Mary, I believe.

Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12 NLT). The more I read the truths of the Bible, the stronger I am convinced that it is the Word of the Living God. I am aware of a certain pride that wants to be able to understand and explain every portion of Scripture. But when this pride crops up, I need to humble myself and acknowledge the impossibility of such a desire.

Pride and unbelief are more dangerous than a gunnysack full of rattlesnakes. In all eternity we will be ever learning and yet never exhaust the treasures of His wisdom and goodness. God intends for truth to be constantly unfolding to His people through the Holy Spirit of Christ Who dwells within us.

The Bottom Line: As you meditate on His Word, the truth will lift up your head and elevate your mind as no other study can.

Pastor Jimmy Tucker

(620) 223-1483

Diamond Community Church

Small Business Online Session April 3

Kansas officials to provide information to small businesses via First Friday online session April 3

Heads of agencies will take part in K-State monthly program in light of COVID-19


MANHATTAN, Kan. – Officials of two lead Kansas agencies responding to the COVID-19 outbreak will provide information for small businesses online Friday, April 3 at 9:30 am, as part of K-State Research and Extension’s First Friday monthly webinar series. The call will be recorded and archived.

The session, to be conducted via Zoom, is free and open to anyone interested in resources available to the public, particularly small businesses and employees in Kansas affected by the global pandemic.

Speakers include:

  • David Toland, Kansas Secretary of Commerce
  • Delia Garcia, Kansas Secretary of Labor
  • Laurel Klein Searles, Kansas Director of Unemployment Services


“Kansas has responded quickly to the concerns of small businesses and employees who have lost their livelihoods because of COVID-19,” said Nancy Knopp Daniels, community vitality specialist with K-State Research and Extension. “This call occurs every month in support of small business, but this month we have a special edition to highlight these response programs.”

She noted that a record 3.3 million Americans filed unemployment claims in the past week, which eclipsed the old record of 695,000 new claims in 1982.

To participate, go to; or One-Tap Mobile, + 13462487799,,2636377104#.


More information about First Friday e-Calls is available online or by contacting Daniels at 785-410-6352 or

Fort Scott Commission Work Session March 31: Teleconference Option

The City of Fort Scott will be holding a work session to discuss the 2020 budget on Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. The regularly scheduled City Commission meeting will follow at 6:00 p.m. All meetings are closed to the public due to the order of the Local Public Health Officer.

You can teleconference into the meeting by calling 620-724-9910 and use Participant Code 515698# at 4:30 p.m. Both of these meetings will also be broadcast on the City’s YouTube channel and the City of Fort Scott Facebook page. Instructions on how to listen or subscribe will be posted on the City’s website at on Monday, March 30th, 2020 in the afternoon.

Fort Scott City Commission Minutes for March 10



Minutes of March 10, 2020 Regular Meeting #5

The regular meeting of the Fort Scott City Commission was held March 10th, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. in the City Commission Room, 123 S. Main, Fort Scott, Kansas.


Commissioners K. Allen, P. Allen, R. Nichols, and L. Watts were present with Mayor J. Mitchell presiding.

INVOCATION: Pastor Paul Rooks, Grace Baptist Tabernacle, said a prayer asking God for guidance for the City, our Government and City officials.

AUDIENCE IN ATTENDANCE: Travis Shelton, Rachel Pruitt, Deb Needleman, Michael Mix, Susan Bancroft, Josh Jones, Brian Allen, Diana Morriss, Don Miller, Fred Campbell, Lexi Milburn, Emily Lancaster, Kenzi Hardesty, Alexander Krebs, Kinzye Whitehead, Annie Simon, Emily Davenport, Lawson Hall, Emily Farrington, Chad Brown, Devin Tally, Paul Rooks, John Horn, Christa Horn, Ryan Poertner, Larry Runkle, Meredith Runkle, Erin Camp, Crystal Mason, Greg Schick, William Runkle, Matt Wells, Scott Flater, Stuart Gulgager, Max Fanning, Ann Rawhius, Kenny Rood, Deb McCoy, Cheryl Adamson, Michael Hoyt, Janice Allen, Jara Martin, Clayton Miller, and representing the press, Tammy Helm, Editor, Fort Scott Tribune.



  1. Approval of minutes of the regular meeting of February 18th, 2020.

  1. Approval of Appropriation Ordinance 1258-A totaling $936,859.90.

  1. Certificate of Appropriateness – Approval of Paint colors – 19 S. National – Structures Beauty Salon

  1. Approval of 3RK – Certificate of Pay Request #2 – MIH Housing Grant – $48,916.55.

  1. Request to Pay #2 – Schneider Electric – $233,403.15 – Energy Service Project

  1. January financials

Lindsey Watts moved to approve the Consent Agenda. Randy Nichols seconded,. K. Allen, R. Nichols, L. Watts, and J. Mitchell votes aye. P. Allen voted no. Motion carried 4-1.




Christa Horn, C.A.S.A. Funding RequestChrista Horn, Director, Bourbon County C.A.S.A., informed the Commission that they are celebrating their 30th year providing community trained volunteers to be a voice for abused and neglected children. Over 950 children have had a volunteer by their side serving as their voice in the courtroom and advocating for their best interests. C.A.S.A. volunteers undergo extensive training for foster children. She asked for the same allocation as in 2019 of $5,000 towards C.A.S.A. She thanked the City for their support these many years and support of this important program.

City Manager said that this amount comes from the Special Drug and Alcohol Fund.

J. Mitchell moved to approve the $5,000 allocation for C.A.S.A. R. Nichols seconded. All voted aye.


Angela Curren’s FSHS Class – Two presentations

The first Fort Scott High School group consisted of: Kenzi Hardesty, Emily Farrington, Lawson Hall, Lexi Milburn, and Annie Simon. Their presentation was on Restoring Gunn Park. Their ideas included renovating two of the rock shelters, updating the closed bathroom, repairing the rock wall, and adding mulch to the playground area.

The second Fort Scott High School group consisted of:
Alexander Krebs, Emily Davenport, Kinzye Whitehead, Emily Lancaster, and Erin Camp. Their presentation was on Renovating Lake Fort Scott. Their ideas consisted of restoring the swimming area, restoring the gazebo/shelter, replacing the trash can, installing a storm shelter, and adding and updating the campground area.

The Commission thanked them for the time spent working on their presentations and their great ideas which they will take into consideration.

William Runkle – Mr. Runkle said that he was a hometown boy from Fort Scott but moved away in the 1990’s. He has worked for some various municipalities for the last 29 years and managed wastewater treatment plants, focusing mainly on Inflow and Infiltration issues. He currently works for the City of Webb City, Missouri. He started a sewer work crew for the City of Webb City as they had a major issue with sanitary sewer overflows in the amount of 400 to 500 a year. He has worked for them for the last seven years. They averaged spending about $300,000 a year. Their crew consists of four people on a crew. He spoke in great detail on Webb City and all the updates they have done on the sewers. He also discussed the cost per foot for the repairs. He also discussed that they use lining when it makes sense to use.

The Commission thanked him for his input. He gave Michael Mix his contact information also.

Greg Schick – Mr. Schick said that he has been following the discussion on sewers and been at the last couple of meetings. He has spoke with K.D.H.E., which is a great resource for cities. He informed the Commission that there are grants and loans available from the State Revolving Loan Fund. There is a Community Act Grant available for sewers, and U.S.D.A. loans available.

The Commissioners thanked him for his input.

B. CITIZEN COMMENTS (Concerning Items Not on Agenda – 5 minute

limit per citizen) –

Patrick Wood – Mr. Wood said that since he has lived here, all he has heard is that Fort Scott needs more housing. For economic development, we need housing to bring employees in to add employees for our businesses. One idea is to do the infill projects, which is a great idea, if we had lots that had decent neighbors. That is what he is here to talk about this evening. He wants to talk about codes enforcement and accountability for the Codes Department. He said that Dr. Nichols attended a meeting about codes with him about five months ago, but nothing has progressed since then. He shared photos with the Commission of houses in disrepair and houses with trash and inoperable vehicles. He thinks more procedures need to be in place, so they are followed up on. He went over the photos with the Commission.

Discussion was held on how much the City pays in contract mowing each year. Susan Bancroft said that about $46,000 was paid. Discussion was held regarding hiring an employee just to mow yards that are not mowed.

Kevin Allen said that we need to work with the County on demolition fees and if those fees could be waived.

City Manager said that the Codes Supervisor position is now advertised also. He visited with the Codes personnel today about codes issues.

Mr. Wood said that whoever is hired needs to be qualified and certified to do inspections as this is a tremendous liability to the City.

Deb McCoy – Ms. McCoy said that she has continued to research expenditures made by the City. She has not had her questions answered about spending and about equipment and if it is inventoried and marked as City property. She asked how many vehicles the City has. She asked about equipment, chairs, tables, projectors, and screens and where they were and if they have been marked as City property. Do we have a system that accounts for City property? She has asked about the number of vehicles that the City owns. She said it would save a lot of travel expenses if City employees would use City vehicles when traveling. They could also carpool together. She asked why the City is paying for required code footprints. No other city does this. It is the responsibility of the building owner. The City has spent thousands, including two code footprints for two elected officials, which is unlawful. She continues to see expenditures on gifting. For federal guidelines, in giving a gift you collect from those employees who wish to participate and not use taxpayer dollars. She continues to see expenditures on breakroom supplies amounting to $247.00, and customer candy amounting to $78.00. There were three pieces of equipment and a Bissell upright vacuum. She questioned the purchase of a new vacuum cleaner and that we pay a janitorial person. Doesn’t she supply her own supplies and equipment to clean? There were two noted expenditures at Home Depot – a Ryobi impact set and tool combo for $241.00, and kitchen cabinets for $2,427.00. There was a three-gallon air compressor in the amount of $159.00. You talk about needing money for employees. If you would just cut down this frivolous spending, that would help. Our new $665,000 pumper truck required additional telescoping lights for $8,000 and detailing for around $350.00. The legal fees for the City Attorney have totaled $8,000 for this month. We have almost spent $17,000 in legal fees in the last two months. The taxpayers deserve an explanation as to why the attorney fees have increased. Tourism expenditures alone dates from 2/19 to 3/3 was $4,132.00. How is this justified if we do not have infrastructure that supports growth. People voted for change. She strongly urged them to look at the 16 recommendations from the Grand Jury to improve the functioning of the City to make it better. If we would have had the money to make the improvements on our infrastructure and growth, if we would develop a vision, reorganize our expenditure policy and develop oversite and accountability. She handed them out the 16 recommendations from the Grand Jury again.

Commissioner Kevin Allen commented on the code footprint. Is it mandatory through the State Fire Marshal’s office that we have code footprints in the City of Fort Scott?

Ms. McCoy said that if you change your property 50%.

City Manager said that Dave Bruner can answer this. It relates to changing the occupancy or type of the business.

Ms. McCoy said she has called various cities in the surrounding areas and they do not enforce code footprints.

Commissioner Kevin Allen asked if the State Fire Marshal can come and speak at our next meeting regarding code footprints.

Diana Morriss – She thanked the people who are doing the live streaming. She said it is only as good as the technology we use. She asked them to use their microphones and project their voices please. She asked the City Manager and the City Attorney to approach the podium as their voices are soft spoken. She said that since their seats at the table are only as an advisory capacity, she said they could sit on the front row and stand at the podium for a response so everyone could hear. She had a memory pop up on her Facebook today and thinks that it is relevant to the current state of affairs in our city. It said, “Love all, trust a few, and do wrong to none”. Good creed for our city at this time. She also continues to look at expenditures of the City. It seems that there is a lot of trust being placed in our City employees. She isn’t suggesting that the trust isn’t warranted, but she thinks the spending habits should be scrutinized. She thinks it is time to employ a plan of action for overseeing departmental spending. One thing she suggested is a budget that targets each department. Strict adherence to a line item budget would serve us well in managing expenditures and potentially save enough taxpayer dollars that we could then delve into the infrastructure needs that we have at this point in time. She is aware that the spending practices and habits can’t change overnight, but she thinks taxpayers deserve proof that you are being accountable and working toward making sure that all of your expenditures are legitimate.

Kevin Allen said in his own business that it is hard to keep track of all the expenditures. If you have extra time on your hands, it could help to have others looking into expenditures.

Commissioner Pete Allen said that we have citizens involved in spending and it is at an all time high. It is time for the City of Fort Scott to step up and utilize these people that have these ideas and can help us to get our spending under control.

Pete Allen made a recommendation to get an advisory committee going immediately that involves people who are willing to come and help us. That was his motion.

Kevin Allen said that it was recommended on the Grand Jury recommendations. He seconded Pete’s motion.

Lindsey Watts said that there is paperwork in front of them from the Finance Director that she is looking at which involves the spending of the City. Our Finance Director is on top of this. In looking at her paperwork and comparing cities like Pittsburg, Osawatomie, Iola, Paola and Garnett, the City of Fort Scott has the tightest spending caps by far across the board. She doesn’t agree to put an advisory committee together yet.

Randy Nichols said that Lindsey Watts is spot on with her comments.

Pete Allen said that the citizens are saying no. They aren’t agreeing with him. It’s time to step up and do something. The citizens need to be heard and utilized.

Roll call was taken on the motion to start an advisory committee on City spending. Kevin Allen and Pete Allen voted aye. Randy Nichols, Lindsey Watts, and JoLynne Mitchell voted no. Motion denied. 3-2.


Matt Wells – Mr. Wells said that for many years now the City has been using the sewer, water, and stormwater funds basically as a bankroll for the general fund. This has been gone over before. He asked that the City Commission make some hard decisions about all the transfers taking place from these accounts into the general fund. Upon discovery of the ordinance in place on the sewer funds, those will not be taking place any longer. There are still transfers taking place from the water and stormwater funds. He believes it is not in the best keeping of what the citizens are wanting that money used for. It appears that the sewer and water rates were increased 10% in 2007, 15% in 2008, 15% in 2009, and 10% in 2010. There is a Tribune newspaper article which states that these increases happened due to deficits in the water and sewer fund, but in 2007 we transferred over $100,000 in the general fund. In 2008, over $200,000 into the general fund, in 2009, over $160,000 into the general fund, and 2010 about $215,000 into the general fund. It appears since the transfers started, over $2.2 million have been placed into the general fund by raising the sewer rates alone. This could have been used to work on the sewer line instead of funding the general fund. The rates were raised to offset deficits, however, in 2009, we increased office wages, increased the minimum salaries of the directors up to $65,000, in 2009, cut the H.R. Director as well as five street crew members at this same time. In 2010, the City purchased this facility for City Hall and did extensive remodeling. Utility funds were used to pay for that. This is a much nicer facility than the basement of Memorial Hall where it used to be, but why is it necessary to take money from the funds that should be used to repair our crumbling infrastructure. The sewer and water rates began to rise in 2007 after not being increased for 14 years under the stated purpose of offsetting those deficits in those departments. It appears that the large amounts that have continued to be transferred to the general fund are being used for other purposes. From 2006 to 2012, over $1 million was transferred. To date, just in the sewer fund, over $2.2 million has been transferred. It’s time for the City Commission to make a decision to start replacing our City sewer, not just repair them. We are far beyond that now. He believes what the gentleman from Webb City said was right on and you will heed what he told you. Let’s learn from their example and learn from their wisdom and continue to move forward. We need to keep the money from those areas in their respective areas and stop the transfers to the general fund. This will be a hard decision for the City Commission to make because that’s money that the City is using for many other purposes, however, he would encourage the City Commission to stop transferring those funds and to amend ordinances in those departments and state the money cannot be transferred. It should state the same thing as in the sewer ordinance. The wording also needs to be stated that this money can be used for no other purpose than repairing the infrastructures of those areas. We continue to have the argument over money. We have rates that have already been raised, but we aren’t using those rates or the money that the citizens are paying to repair those services. We are using that money and transferring it into the general fund. He would encourage the City Commission to make changes to the ordinance and keep the money where the citizens are paying it to be.

Susan Bancroft, Director of Finance – Susan wanted to respond to some of these issues. She appreciates their comments. She has had the opportunity to revisit the budget. She said that a work session will be needed to look at some changed items. She wants them to look also at five years out. These transfers do support the general fund and if you don’t have those transfers to the general fund, you will either be asking taxpayers to raise taxes, or cut a lot of quality of life items from the general fund like the pool, the golf course, the parks, baseball fields, and the streets. They are all supported by the general fund. There are some hard decisions to be made.

She referred to the Grand Jury recommendations of the 16 items that we made to the City. She wanted to clarify some of these items and the spending issues.

She asked for a work session to discuss the budget. It would be an evening meeting. March 23rd, 2020 was the decided date at 6:00 p.m.

She referred to the purchasing policy. She contacted several surrounding cities in the area to compare. This is for informational purposes only. The City of Fort Scott does have a strict policy as far as director authority. Some items need to be clarified and a financial policy needs to be approved also. This will not happen overnight. This would talk about investment policies, and our cash reserves. Our auditor likes us to have a three-month cash reserve in place at all times. We need a policy in place for that. The reserves have been spent down in the past. She is trying to fix that in this budget year. She also gave them a spreadsheet on other cities and if they are transferring out of their utility funds. They are all still transferring out of their utility funds into their general funds. We are not the only city doing this. Some of these have electric and gas utilities and they make a lot more money. That don’t apply to us.

She gave them copies of the City’s travel and expense guidelines and our clothing policy. Pete asked for an organizational chart which is also at the table.

Susan wanted to address some of the items that Deb McCoy has brought up this evening. Our breakroom supplies have been limited to very basic things. The Fire and Police Departments spend their nights there. Those supplies will pay for meals that they may have to have there. We are very limited to what we buy for our breakrooms now. We buy coffee and some bottled water for visitors who come in from out of town. We have gotten stricter on our policies. The lady that cleans for us does not have her own supplies. We provide her supplies to clean. Our vacuum cleaner was old and died and we bought a new vacuum. We tried to buy locally at Big Sugar, but they did not have the supplies. We had some mold issues at the Fire Department, so we went to Home Depot and got a lot of our supplies there. That is what the kitchen cabinets are for and that is paid for by insurance money. The telescoping lights and the wrap for the new pumper truck, those items were left off the bid, and it was the City’s fault for that not being in the bid. That was the City’s error, but it was a requirement for the truck. Tourism – this is headed up by an advisory committee. This is to get her to big conventions and get Fort Scott’s name out there and promote it. Those dollars are brought in from the bed tax (transient guest tax). Our revenues have gone up in the last five to ten years due to an active tourism director. This is very important for them to attend conventions to promote Fort Scott.

Susan also discussed briefly the Grand Jury investigation. She said that she was hired during that time. The environment at that time was there was no trust in government. She was asked to investigate the City funds. She gave lots of testimonies. There were no violations or indictments against the City. There was some fraud committed against the City. These recommendations came out during a time when we needed tighter policies and procedures in place. These were just recommendations. At that time. she had one person who did payroll and accounts payable and it was recommended to split this job, which she ended up doing and hired another person. There are some things we could revisit like policies and procedures. Long range plans should be addressed also as it sets direction for us. We are in a good place now.

Discussed the budget work session for Monday, March 23rd, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall. It will be a long meeting.


Lindsey Watts moved to open the Public Hearing at 7:46 p.m. JoLynne Mitchell seconded. All voted aye.


6:00 p.m. Community Improvement District Public Hearing – Dollar Tree – Approval of Ordinance No. 3558 – Rachel Pruitt, Economic Development Director, informed the Commission that this public hearing is being held for the Community Improvement District at 2206 South Main Street, which is the new Dollar Tree. A 30-day notice was published to establish a Community Improvement District for a new development. This will be 10,000 square feet building of retail space. They will employ up to 15 jobs and estimated to be open by September 2020. They estimate annual sales of $1–1.5 million. The developer will pay project costs of $861,000. The developer has said it will probably be about $1.1 million. The 1% reimbursement for the C.I.D. is estimated to be $11,000 annually and will be for 22 years.

There was an email received from Nancy Van Etten with questions about the C.I.D. consisting of the following:

What is Dollar Tree pledging to the City of Fort Scott, residents, future owners and other developers in the area? Rachel answered her questions as listed above.

She asked what the Dollar Tree’s short term and long term commitment to the City and people who live here was? Rachel said if the C.I.E. is approved, the incremental sales tax revenue will be reimbursed for a period of 22 years or until the project cost has been remitted in full.

She asked if the Dollar Tree shared its business plan with the City? Rachel said that the City does not require a business to share a business plan with the City.

Her last question was what does EMB mean on the power point presentation? EMB is EMD Fort Scott, LLC which is the other active C.I.D. development in the City.

There were no other questions from the audience.

K. Allen moved to approve the Community Improvement District and adopt Ordinance No. 3558. Randy Nichols seconded. All voted aye.


J. Mitchell moved to close the Public Hearing at 7:55 p.m. L. Watts seconded. All voted aye.



  1. Approval of Ace Pipe Cleaning Invoice – $37,430 (pulled from last meeting) (5% retainage for work to be completed) – Mayor Mitchell said Items #1 and #2 will be combined. Michael Mix, Public Utilities Director, said that it was requested at the last meeting to obtain additional information regarding these two invoices. He met with John Briggs, Engineer, Allgeier, Martin & Associates, and Ace Pipeline Cleaning, and Frank Young, AG Engineering. Mr. Briggs was unable to attend tonight. He read the first and last paragraph of that letter.

I applaud the City for utilizing the cooperative purchasing agreement contained within the City of Joplin’s 2018 and 2019 Evaluation and Rehabilitation of Wastewater Collection System project. The specifications for the project were prepared under my supervision. Through the use of this contract, I believe it allowed the City of Fort Scott to utilize much lower unit prices for the renovation of parts of the collection system compared to unit prices typically seen in the market place for a similarly sized project. Additionally, to utilize the competitively bid unit prices and specifications from the City of Joplin project, Fort Scott did not have to pay for the services of a licensed professional engineering to prepare a bid package and specifications for similar work.

Based upon the description of materials and construction method utilized on this project that were provided to me by others, I would conclude, based on this information, that construction has generally conformed to these specifications and widely accepted sanitary sewer line construction practices. In this situation as described to me, I would recommend that the City make the payment of Ace Pipe Cleaning’s outstanding invoices 140670 and 141054. Keep in mind that paying these invoices does not relieve the Contractor of their requirement to provide a one-year warranty for work performed. I strongly suggest that the City continue to evaluate the newly installed sewer lines and manholes during this period and any defect identified shall be brought to the Contractor’s attention for their remediation”.

Michael introduced Ryan Poertner of Ace Pipe Cleaning, to address the Commission.

Ryan said that they have been working for the City of Fort Scott for about two years now and completed about $200,000 to $300,000 worth of repairs. He said that they have also worked for Mr. Runkle in the City of Webb City and just finished a project for them. As Michael Mix talked, they have bid on this project since 2012. The City of Joplin offers a variety of items to choose from work that needs to be done. They have been the successful contractor for the last eight years working with the City of Joplin. The work they have done has saved significant fees through bidding projects that are already engineered. He feels the work they have done is exemplary and has addressed the I & I issues and taken care of that. He applauded the City taking the steps to hire and do the work on their own. Not all cities have the ability to do this.

Kevin Allen said that we had a meeting with you and discussed the retainage. It remains at 5% per Susan Bancroft.

Kevin said also discussed was the different type of gravel used in the cuts.

Pete Allen said that this can be rehashed and rehashed, but the basic question is, did Ace Pipe perform in strict accordance with the specifications written by Mr. Briggs? He would like an answer to this question.

Ryan Poertner said that there was no compaction done so that answer is no. Part of the issue is when you compact over clay, the clay can collapse. Things change throughout the scope of work which is called construction.

Pete Allen said that the specifications clearly states that AB3 materials be used. You did not adhere to the specifications.

Randy Nichols said that we have had two engineering firms discuss this who felt that there was no substandard work done. The quality of the project is standard or at least superior to the specifications.

Pete Allen said that the last paragraph says generally perform. We are paying for strict performance. That is the letter of the law. That tells him he has no idea if it conforms or not. He cannot understand why we have not enforced that regulation. He doesn’t believe in the type of rock that was put in lieu of the AB3 base rock. That rock is a clean gravel. He did a test and used that gravel and put it in a gallon bucket and put water over it. That gallon bucket of rock will absorb half a gallon of water for every gallon of rock. That is against every attempt to get rid of inflow. He took the base rock and tamped it down and the water runs off. It is an inferior method in Fort Scott. It may work in other places but Fort Scott is built on clay. We don’t want that kind of rock in Fort Scott. He said that on Wall Street that the street has settled 6” to 8” under the manhole. Are we going to accept this kind of work? For John Briggs to come up with this kind of nonsense that it generally conforms, he is the one that wrote the specifications. He said he would take him to court any day of the week. He would send this letter to the State Board. Engineers deal in facts, not opinions. He is not buying anything here. He strongly suggests that the work be done per specifications.

Michael said that after consulting with the engineers and the contractor, that the clean rock is superior. He said that Mr. Runkle from Webb City said that they had over 400 plus overflows there. We had 13 here and it was the wettest season on record in ten years. Our situation is unique due to our plant setup. We only run 5,000,000 a day through the plant. Anything in excess goes to the lagoon system which gives us an extreme advantage. The State is happy with us. In regards to the two invoices, he was confident before that we had a good product, and after speaking with John Briggs and Greg of Allgeier, Martin and Frank Young of AG Engineering, he is more confident that the work that they have is good and acceptable and that there is no benefit to be found in redoing any of this work. As far as inspections go, he has videos of before and after inside of the pipes. You would have to come to the office to come and view them. His recommendation is to pay both outstanding invoices. He recommended paying these invoices in full. Repair #18 still needs to be completed.

Randy Nichols said that there is a warranty for a year on this.

Kevin Allen said that the agenda shows a 5% retainage.

Michael said that the job is complete. Repair #18 is not associated with these two invoices.

Pete asked if there was any testing done on these projects.

Michael said no.

Pete asked if there was testing required.

Michael said yes and he consulted with the engineer and it didn’t need it.

Pete asked Greg Schick to come up and give us his view on testing.

Greg Schick said he talked to K.D.H.E. for several hours today. If this was State or Federal money, these infiltration tests are required. He has looked at other city contracts and the specifications are similar to this contract. They require inspections be done before payment. This needs to be taken very seriously.

R. Nichols moved to approve both invoices to Ace Pipe Cleaning with the 5% retainage. Lindsey Watts seconded. K. Allen, R. Nichols, L. Watts, and J. Mitchell voted aye. Pete Allen voted no. Motion carried 4-1.


  1. Consideration of Ace Pipe Cleaning Invoice – $65,756.15 – (5% retainage for work to be completed) Included above

Commissioner Pete Allen told the Commission that you showed the people that it’s okay to do things wrong and get away with it.

Commissioner Pete Allen left the meeting at 8:28 p.m.

  1. Consideration of Cost Sharing Agreement for Lake Fort Scott Fence Replacement – Susan Bancroft, Finance Director, informed the Commission that David and Shanda Stewart share a fence with the City of Fort Scott on property at the lake. The
    Bourbon County Commission had a fence viewing back in 2012, and it was determined the fence was shared 50/50. The fence is in need of repair. This agreement was drawn up by the City Attorney and shares the cost of the fence 50/50. The City’s part of this fence will be $1,900.63 and approve of this agreement is requested.

J. Mitchell moved to approve the Fence Sharing Replacement Agreement between the City of Fort Scott and David and Shanda Stewart with the City cost of the fence being $1,900.63. R. Nichols seconded. All voted aye.


  1. Consideration of Bids – Farm Ground Lease – Wastewater Treatment Plant ground – 104 acres – Michael Mix, Water Utilities Director, informed the Commission that bids were taken for the lease of approximately 104 acres surrounding the Wastewater Treatment Plant. There was one bid received from Ed Karleskint in the amount of $10,000. Approval was recommended.

K. Allen moved to approve the bid from Ed Karleskint in the amount of $10,000 to farm the 104 acres at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. L. Watts seconded. All voted aye.


  1. Consideration to purchase replacement truck at Water Treatment Plant – Michael Mix, Public Utilities Director, informed the Commission that the Water Treatment Plant’s primary service truck, which was a 2016 truck, was damaged in the fire at the plant that occurred in late 2019. The insurance company totaled this pickup and has taken possession of it. The City will receive $24,294.84 in insurance proceeds towards the purchase of a new truck. He asked for permission to add an additional $3,705.16 from his capital equipment budget to bring the total amount to $28,000. They would like to replace this vehicle as soon as they can. He asked approval to replace this vehicle at an amount not to exceed $28,000.

K. Allen said he is concerned with the cost of the truck and why they need a truck at this cost for the Water Treatment Plant. He said in his own personal business that he can purchase a good truck in the amount of $10,000 to $15,000. He asked what would happen to the remainder of the insurance payment and if it could just go to the City’s account.

Kenneth Rood, Water Plant Maintenance, said that the pickup that caught on fire was a 3/4-ton pickup. They use this pickup daily and for travel when necessary.

Susan Bancroft said she would need to check with the insurance company since this is an insurance claim.

It was the consensus of the governing body to table this issue until the March 24th, 2020 meeting.

  1. Consideration to pay Skitch’s Hauling & Excavation, Inc – $968.00 – Port-A-Potties serviced for January 2020 – City Manager said that since Kevin Allen is a Commissioner, that the City Attorney advised his invoices should be approved separately.

Kevin Allen stepped out of the room briefly while the vote was taken.

L. Watts moved to approve to pay Skitch’s Hauling & Excavation, Inc. the amount of $968.00 for the invoice of servicing port-a-potties for January 2020. J. Mitchell seconded. All voted aye.


Kevin Allen returned to the meeting again.


  1. Director Updates: Robert Uhler is in Wichita and will do his update at the next meeting.

Susan Bancroft – Susan did her update earlier under citizen comments.

Chad Brown – Chad updated the Commission on a couple of issues. He said that the Street Advisory Committee was approved back in December. Only two people have submitted letters of interest.

City Clerk will re-advertise for these open positions.

Michael Hoyt questioned the Ordinance and if a Commissioner was on this committee.

The Ordinance was looked at and it states a City Commissioner will be part of this committee.

Kevin Allen mentioned the possibility of selecting from a quadrant if we had quadrants.

City Manager said we can re-advertise.

  • His next update was with K.D.O.T. He received a call from our area K.D.O.T. engineer, Darin Petrowsky, about our traffic signal upgrades. K.D.O.T. did warrant a traffic study and upgrades are needed at 3rd, 6th, 12th, and 25th. 18th and 23rd Street signals are good as they are new signals. All signals will be LED. The only ones that aren’t is 12th Street. This will be a modified signal connect system with K.D.O.T. They are discussing adding another pole at 3rd and 6th so the lights can be seen better. The study did not warrant advance warning signals. This light upgrade will be paid for by K.D.O.T. 12th Street will get pedestrian crossing lights also.

B. City Commission:

Randy Nichols Wanted to recognize the people that are working with Smart Growth America. He recognized Robert Uhler, Rachel Pruitt, and Ally Turvey. This organization gives us outside resources and gives us more contacts. He is excited about this program.

Kevin Allen He asked for an update on his previous request on vacancies and dividing into wards.

City Manager said that he heard from the Deputy Director of the League of Kansas Municipalities. He said that Commission/Manager cities such as Fort Scott as elected at large. Typically, Mayor/Council/Manager cities use wards/districts to elect members. Lawrence is the largest city in Kansas with the Commission/Manager form of government.

Vacancies – He said that the vast majority of cities appoint via some sort of application process. Some cities use factor such as election results. His personal experience from Atchison, Kansas was that the Commission chose the person who came in fourth in the election. There were some citizens that were upset because that person had lost the election and it didn’t represent the will of the people. His advice to cities on an open position is that you are a multimillion company with an opening on your board of directors and who will bring in the best skill set for your board.

City Manager said that the current ordinance reads that letters of interest are taken and the Commission chooses.

Kevin said that it was a close race in the election. He said that if it was a tie vote, that the deciding vote could be left to the Bourbon County Commission. He thinks that makes sense.

Kevin made a motion stating, when and if a current City Commission in the City of Fort Scott either voluntarily or is forced to resign their seat at the table of the City Commission, that person that shall fill that seat will be the runner-up from the last City election. I,f however, there is no runner-up, the City Commissioners will chose the next City Commissioner by a majority vote among themselves. If there is a tie between the current four City Commissioners, then the deciding vote shall be left to the Bourbon County Commissioners. Lindsey Watts seconded. K. Allen, L. Watts, and J. Mitchell voted aye. R. Nichols voted no.

Approved to have the City Attorney draft a charter ordinance stating when and if a current City Commissioner in the City of Fort Scott either voluntarily or is forced to resign their seat at the table of the City Commission, that person that shall fill that seat will be the runner-up from the last City election. If however, there is no runner-up, the City Commissioners will chOose the next City Commissioner by a majority vote among themselves. If there is a tie between the current four City Commissioners, then the deciding vote shall be left to the Bourbon County Commissioners.

Jeff Deane asked if the current one is a charter ordinance.

City Clerk said that the current one is a regular ordinance.

Jeff Deane said that a charter ordinance will take 2/3’s of the vote. He will check into this issue.

Randy Nichols said that he doesn’t agree with this. The 4th person wasn’t elected. Taking letters of interest and bringing them forward gives that person an opportunity to apply. The Commission can choose between all of the applicants.

Mayor Mitchell said she would like time to think about it.

Lindsey Watts questioned him on this ordinance. She asked again how it is currently filled.

  • Stop Signs at 1st and National and 2nd and National – Kevin said that he talked to Travis Shelton about this. He doesn’t see the need for the stop signs at 1st and National and 2nd and National. He sees the need for the sign at Wall Street but not the others. He asked them to consider that.

  • 20 mph on Margrave Street – School zone – Kevin said that this is long. The length needs to be looked at but he thinks it is way too long and should only be a block or so.

Chad said he would have to look and see if there is a required length.

Pete AllenNot present.

Lindsey Watts – Nothing to report.

JoLynne Mitchell Asked that Diana Morriss re-read her last statement from her comments: “Love all, trust a few, and do wrong to none”.

  1. City Manager: Dave stated that you asked him to put together a work group for a 10 year financial plan for the City. This would be for streets, sewer, and water. Susan is heading up this team with Randy Nichols, Chad Brown, and Michael Mix. An update will be given at the second meeting of each month.


L. Watts moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:19 p.m. R. Nichols seconded. All voted aye.


The next regularly scheduled meeting is to be held on March 24th, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.




Fort Scott Commission Agenda for March 31






MARCH 31, 2020

6:00 P.M.







  1. Approval of minutes of the regular meeting of March 10th, 2020.

  1. Approval of Appropriation Ordinance 1259-A totaling $726,100.29.

  1. Approval of Pay Request #7 – Crossland Construction – River Intake Structure Project – $177,321.49.

  1. Request to Pay – Struckel Electric – $8,814.09 – Electric Vault Project – Airport

  1. Request to Pay #3 – Schneider Electric – $353,530.09 – Energy Audit Project

  1. Approval of 3RK – Certificate of Pay Request #3 – MIH Housing Grant – $22,599.52.

  1. Quit Claim Deed – City of Fort Scott to Margaret P. Cummings-3 ½” of alley

  1. February 2020 Financials



B. CITIZEN COMMENTS (Concerning Items Not on Agenda – 5 minute limit per citizen) – Comments will not be taken during this meeting. If you have a topic to discuss not listed on the agenda, please contact a City Commissioner or send a written request to



  1. Consideration to increase pool fees

  1. Consideration of painting/resurfacing Aquatic Center bids

  1. Consideration to accept engineering proposal from Zingre’ & Associates for roof replacement at Wastewater Treatment Plant

  1. Consideration of bids for repairs to the Water Treatment Plant from fire

  1. Consideration of 2020 Budget changes

  1. Consideration of Ordinance No. 3559 – Ordinance appropriating the amounts for each fund in the budget for the remainder of 2020

  1. Consideration of approval of Fort Scott CDBG Small Business Relief Loan Fund Program

  1. Consideration of Resolution No. 9-2020 declaring a local State of Emergency and temporarily expanding the authority of the City Manager


  1. Director Updates: None
  1. Commission:
  1. City Manager:



SESSION FOR ________________________________ IN ORDER TO

(see below justification)

DISCUSS ______________________________________. THE


MEETING TO RESUME AT ________________.

Justifications for Executive Sessions:

  • Personnel matters of non-elected personnel

  • Consultation with an attorney for the body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship

  • Matters relating to employer-employee negotiations whether or not in consultation with the representative or representatives of the body or agency

  • Confidential data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trusts and individual proprietorships

  • Preliminary discussions relating to the acquisition of real property


Kansas Food and Ag Industry Continues to Focus on Essential Functions



MANHATTAN, Kan. —   The Kansas Department of Agriculture continues to support the state’s food and agriculture industry as it serves an essential role across the state. With today’s announcement that Governor Laura Kelly has issued a statewide “stay home” order (Executive Order No. 20-16), it is important to emphasize that those food and agriculture businesses must keep a strong focus on their essential functions and follow safety protocols.


The Governor’s Kansas Essential Function Framework, outlined in the executive order, clearly identifies food and agriculture businesses as essential functions that are exempt from the stay home order. KDA will continue to provide support and guidance to those businesses as needed, but urges all of those in the food and agriculture industry to scrutinize their activities and staffing and limit them to those which are essential to the food supply chain, public health and safety, and protection of animal health and welfare.


The food and agriculture industry truly serves an essential role in this statewide response, and all those who work within that industry are playing an important part in keeping the state fed, healthy and safe. “Since Kansas is the fifth largest state in regard to value of agricultural production, our state’s role in the production of food, fuel and fiber remains critical for consumers everywhere,” said Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam. “KDA is grateful to these dedicated Kansans who are working every day throughout this crisis, and appreciates their commitment.”


KDA reminds those food and agriculture businesses that while they continue to operate, they must — to the extent possible without significant disruption to essential functions — use telework capabilities to avoid meeting in person. Any essential functions being performed on-site or in-person must — to the extent possible without significant disruption to essential functions — follow appropriate safety protocols, including maintaining a six-foot distance between individuals and limiting gatherings to fewer than 10 people. When not performing an essential function, or traveling to or from work to perform an essential function, individuals must adhere to the stay home order.


In addition, all food and agriculture businesses should continue to follow all Kansas Department of Health and Environment protocols to protect the health of their employees: regular handwashing; routine cleaning of all frequently touched surfaces; adequate supplies of soap and water, hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, and tissues; promoting proper coughing and sneezing etiquette; and especially sending home any employee who is sick or who has been exposed to COVID-19.


All of these efforts are critical to slowing the spread of the virus and limiting the impact on local healthcare workers and hospitals. Although many rural areas have not seen the effect of the virus thus far, the health care system in those rural areas has a more limited capacity and could feel the impact quickly if precautions are not taken now.


Information about the state’s response to this emergency event can be found the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s COVID-19 Resource Center at, and ag-related support and guidance can be found on the KDA website at

Kansas Public COVID 19 Update for March 28

For more information:
2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Kansas Test Results
Updated 3/28/20 at 10 a.m.

Total Positive Cases
Private Labs
Kansas Health and Environmental Lab (KHEL)

Deaths (included in above numbers)

Out-of-State Resident Positive Cases*
(not counted in Kansas numbers)

Total Negative Cases for Kansans

Positive Case Information
County Number

*Ford and Miami Counties reported positive cases in out-of-state residents.
**1 case in Douglas and 2 cases in Crawford are presumptive positive at a reference lab, but were not confirmed through the KDHE lab, so are included in the county numbers, but not in the overall state total or demographics at this time.




Age Range
Age range on patients is 7 to 95 years of age, with a median age of 53.

50 hospitalizations to date reported*
* this is a cumulative number, based on 175 cases where information is available.

Governor Kelly issues temporary, statewide Stay Home order in ongoing effort to combat COVID-19

Executive Order 20-16 makes Kansas 22nd state to issue statewide stay-home measure


As part of ongoing efforts to limit the spread of novel coronavirus in Kansas, today Governor Laura Kelly issued Executive Order 20-16, making Kansas the 22nd state in the nation to institute a temporary, statewide stay-home order. It will exist in conjunction with the Kansas Essential Function Framework for COVID-19 response efforts and will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, March 30. The measure will be in place at least until Sunday, April 19.

“Our modeling continues to suggest that the number of confirmed positive coronavirus cases in Kansas could reach as high as 900 over the next week,” Kelly said. “While I left these decisions to local health departments as long as possible, the reality is that the patchwork approach that has developed is inconsistent and is a recipe for chaos and, ultimately, for failure in our statewide fight to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Under Executive Order 20-16, Kansans are directed to stay home unless performing one of the following essential activities:


  • Obtaining food, medicine and other household necessities;
  • Going to and from work at a business or organization performing an essential function as identified in the Kansas Essential Function Framework;
  • Seeking medical care;
  • Caring for children, family members or pets, or caring for a vulnerable person in another location;
  • Engaging in an outdoor activity, provided individuals maintain a distance of six feet from one another and abide by the 10-person limitation on gathering size.


“I know this is hard, and I can’t tell you how much I wish it weren’t necessary,” Kelly said. “But we have a small window to ensure that Kansas does not suffer the same terrible fate of other hard-hit states like New York and Missouri. We’ve all got to do our part to help stop the spread of the disease. Stay home. Stay Safe.”

In a public address to Kansans on Saturday morning, Kelly explained that this action became necessary for three key reasons:


  • To provide statewide uniformity in response efforts;
  • To prevent overwhelming hospitals – especially rural hospitals – who may not have the same capacity to handle an influx of COVID-19 patients;
  • To buy Kansas more time as the state officials work with federal partners to secure badly needed protective personal equipment (PPE), additional ventilators and COVID-19 testing supplies.


Kelly also commended federal efforts in recent days to support state and local response efforts in the form of an historic emergency relief package. More details about implications the federal stimulus bill will have for Kansas will be released as they become available.


The executive order can be viewed here:


Please visit for additional virus-related information, and visit for federal stimulus benefits updates or to file for Unemployment Insurance benefits.


U234 Food Service Routes for the Week of March 30

USD 234 FS Week of March 30th – Monday & Wednesday only



USD 234 will be doing two distributions the week of March 30th.

On Monday, March 30th, the child will be receiving a total of 4 meals per child.

On Wednesday, April 1st, the child will be receiving a total of 6 meals per child.

Children will receive the same amount of meals for the week but will pick them up over 2 days.

1. St. Mary’s– 10:00 am
2. 8th & Burke– 10:15 am
3. 4th & Couch– 10:30 am
4. 5th & Judson– 10:45 am
5. Wall & Judson– 11:00 am

1. 8th & Wilson – 10:00 am
2. 5th & Wilson – 10:15 am
3. 2nd & Andrick – 10:30 am
4. 1st & Cameron – 10:45 am
5. Pine & Caldwell – 11:00 am

1. Emmert & Beach– 10:00 am
2. 1900 Margrave (Church of Christ)– 10:15 am
3. 15th & Ransom– 10:30 am
4. 17th & Crawford– 10:45 am
5. 19th & Huntington (CCC)– 11:00 am

1. Devon Fire Station – 10:05 am
2. Fulton Community Center – 10:30 am
3. Hammond Community Center – 10:45 am
1. Indian & 187th Terr. (Airport)– 10:00 am
2. 69hwy & Deer (Faith Church)– 10:25 am
3. Jayhawk & 240th– 10:50 am

10:00 am – 11:00 am
High school- 9th street*
Eugene Ware- 4th street*

*Please remain in your vehicle and maintain social distancing recommendations of 6 feet between individuals.

*There will not be pick up at the Middle School or Winfield Scott


Tiger Food Service – Meals Monday, March 30th and Wednesday, April 1st

No distributions on Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday

Frequently Asked Questions (updated 03/28/20) What days will meals be distributed?
o Monday and Wednesday only for the Week of March 30th.
o There will not be any distributions Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday.
o The child will still receive the same amount of meals. Do I need to bring my kids with me?
o Yes. According to federal and state regulations we must be able to visually see the child. At this point, we are still requiring this. Do I have to go to the school my child attends?
o No. These are distribution points and are not in connection to the school your child attends. I have kids attending at each of the schools, do I need to go to each school?
o No. Pick up where it is most convenient for you. Can I pick up a meal to take home to my child?
o No. We must be able to visibly see the child. What ages can be served?
o We can serve ages 1-18. Do I need to call ahead?
o No. Does a parent have to be present?
o No. Kids can pick up the meals if you, as a parent, feel comfortable letting them. How do I pick up my children’s meals using the food service route (bus route)?
o The meals will be distributed from the back of the bus by USD 234 staff.
o Please form a line practicing social distancing starting at the back of the bus. Are foods going to be delivered to my door?
o No. The safety of our kids and our staff is the highest priority. We do not have the resources nor the capability to deliver to each household. How do I pick up at the school pick-up points?
o We will be running these like a drive-thru line.
o Please pull into the line.
o Please remain in the car for all our safety.
o If you walk up to the school, there will be a table for that purpose. We highly recommend that you drive through the pick-up line. Do I have to qualify for free or reduced meals with the school?
o No. Any child 1-18 can participate.

A Matter of Life and Death

But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 2 Timothy 1:10

“Am I going to die?” he asked. I looked up from where I was sitting at his bedside and locked eyes with the doctor who was standing in the doorway. The expression on the doctor’s face told me his answer. “Yes,” I said.

The young man’s expression didn’t change. The doctor turned and left, his footsteps echoing down the hallway. The hospital room was silent except for the noise of the machines that were keeping the young patient alive.

For a moment, I thought he was asleep. I was startled when he asked, “What will happen when I die?”

That depends.” I answered.

On what?”

On your choice. There are two options for where you go when you die: heaven or hell. You make that choice.”

I don’t understand.”

Well, you see, we have all done things wrong. We are all sinners. Our sin separates us from God. If we don’t do something about it, we will be separated from God forever in a place called hell. The Bible calls hell the ‘lake of fire.’”

What can I do?”

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. You see, God became a man in the person of Jesus. He lived a perfect sinless life. He willingly sacrificed His life on the cross for you. His death paid the price for your sins. They buried Jesus and three days later, He rose from the dead. Because of what Jesus did, God offers you salvation, forgiveness, and eternal life as a gift that you must receive by faith. Just believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

Will I then go to heaven and not hell?”


My mom believed that. She used to tell me that I needed Jesus. Do you really believe?”


I do too.”

I took his hand and prayed with him. The next morning, he left this world.

In my years as a U.S. Army Chaplain, hospital chaplain, and pastor, I have witnessed many scenes like the one described here. I have watched as many people have died. I am familiar with the reality of death.

For perhaps the first time in the history of our nation, the reality of death is on everybody’s mind. The hysteria surrounding the coronavirus, or COVID-19, is causing most Americans to consider their own mortality. Our country is confused and scared.

As Christians, we have the answer to the fear that surrounds death. Right now, we have an opportunity to have conversations with nonbelievers about death and what happens when you die. We have an opportunity to share the truth of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The point is: Death is a reality we must all face. Whether we face death with fear or with confidence depends completely on if we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. So, let me ask you: If you died tomorrow, would you go to heaven?

You had better be sure.

It’s a matter of eternal life and death.

James Collins is the pastor of First Southern Baptist Church. He can be reached at (620) 223-2986 or through the website

KDHE adds states to travel quarantine list:Louisiana and Colorado


Louisiana and Colorado

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has added two new states to the quarantine list: Louisiana and Colorado. Previously, just certain counties in Colorado were included. This is effective for persons returning today, March 27, and moving forward.

A comprehensive list of those Kansans needing to quarantine for 14 days includes those who have:

  • Traveled to Louisiana or anywhere in Colorado on or after March 27.
  • Traveled to a state with known widespread community transmission (California, Florida, New York and Washington state) on or after March 15.
  • Traveled to Illinois or New Jersey on or after March 23.
  • Visited Eagle, Summit, Pitkin and Gunnison counties in Colorado in the week of March 8 or after.
  • Traveled on a cruise ship or river cruise on or after March 15.
    • People who have previously been told by Public Health to quarantine because of their cruise ship travel should finish out their quarantine.
  • Traveled internationally on or after March 15.
    • People who have previously been told by Public Health to quarantine because of their international travel to China, South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran should finish out their quarantine.
  • Received notification from public health officials (state or local) that you are a close contact of a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19. You should quarantine at home for 14 days since your last contact with the case.  (A close contact is defined as someone who has been closer than 6 feet for more than 10 minutes while the patient is symptomatic.)

Important Note: These mandates do not apply to critical infrastructure sectors needed to continue operations during this pandemic. Public health, including hospitals, clinics, etc. need to have the staffing resources to continue serving Kansans. While KDHE strongly recommends these quarantine restrictions for everyone, we do recognize that medical care needs to continue and no healthcare facility should ever be to a point where it would need to close due to staff being quarantined. We ask facilities to ensure they have updated their Emergency Preparedness Plans and implement protocols to ensure that no employee comes to work symptomatic. Other examples of critical infrastructures include pharmaceutical and food supply, along with others defined by the Department of Homeland Security.

For more information, please visit the KDHE website at KDHE has a phone bank that is staffed Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. The phone number is 1-866-534-3463 (1-866-KDHEINF). KDHE also has an email address for general inquiries,  Please note these contacts are for general questions and cannot provide you with medical evaluations. If you are feeling ill, please stay home and call your healthcare provider.

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