City Accepts Grant to Repair Downtown Building

A deteriorating, downtown Fort Scott building may soon get a new look as the city of Fort Scott and local business owners invest in the former Spoiled Brat building at 124 E. Wall Street with the help of a state grant.

Earlier this year, the Hoener family had approached the city with their plans to buy the building and repair the leaning wall of the structure. They planned to move forward with paying for the repair of the wall but asked if the city would be willing to set aside the amount of money the city planned spending to make the structure safe if nothing were done. This money would be used only in the event that something was discovered under the ground that made the cost significantly more than the quote and would help guarantee that the repairs could be finished in order to get the building back to a safe state.

Believing in the Hoener’s plan to repair the building and relocate their Hole in the Wall Liquor store on Oak Street to that structure, the city decided to assist by seeking the help of a state grant. In June, the Fort Scott City Commission received word they had been awarded up to $95,000 from the 2017 Small Cities Community Development Block Grant under the Downtown Commercial Rehabilitation funding category.

“Another great improvement to our downtown,” Codes Manager Rhonda Dunn said of the project, which is expected to also include second floor apartments.

The commission voted unanimously during their meeting Tuesday evening to accept the grant. Dunn said it is common for the city to accept the grant and then immediately administer it to another party such as the Hoeners for economic development.

Commissioner Randy Nichols said he wishes the family well as they take on the task and strive to repair the downtown building.


(This article has been edited to better reflect that the city did not front any money for the repair of the building.)

Mercy Hospital Celebrates Hospice Anniversary, Accepts Honors

Submitted by Christina Rockhold

Mercy Hospice Observes Fifth Anniversary

Hospice is more about living than dying. It’s designed to make the most of each day. And every day over the past five years, the Mercy hospice team has offered strength and support to over 475 patients and their families.

Mercy launched Hospice services on July 2, 2012, so terminally-ill patients could experience the continuum of care they had grown to trust through other services at the hospital.

“With Mercy Hospice, we help our patients live each day fully and as comfortable as possible, whether it’s through expert care, a hug, holding a hand or talking,” said Becky Davied, Mercy Home Health and Hospice director. “Our volunteers, chaplain, social worker, nurses, home health aides and physicians share a commitment to providing the utmost quality of life.”

Hospice care is appropriate when a patient has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and life expectancy is six months or less and cure-oriented treatment is no longer being pursued.

“We feel it is a privilege to journey with our patients and families at this most delicate phase of life,” shared LaShawn Noel, Mercy Hospice social worker. “And we celebrate the meaningful relationships we have built along the way.”

Hospice Chaplain Melissa George added, “Planning, education and strengthening relationships can help people deal with the fear of the unknown. In hospice, we champion quality of life, and encourage everyone to live every moment fully and completely. The holistic approach of hospice care meets the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those we serve and their loved ones. I am privileged to minister with a dedicated and devoted team, comforting and praying with others during their most difficult times.”

More information on Mercy Hospice and volunteer opportunities is available by calling 620-223- 8090.

Mercy Named Top Five Health Care System in the U.S.

Shorter hospital stays, fewer complications and better patient results are just a few metrics used to rank Mercy as one of the top five large health systems in the nation, alongside Mayo Clinic. The 2017 Truven Health 15 Top Health Systems, which includes five large, five medium and five small systems, analyzes 337 health systems and 2,924 hospitals across the U.S. Click here to find the listings.

“The Truven Health recognition is a big deal for Mercy, and I’m proud to say that Mercy Fort Scott’s high scores and patient care outcomes contributed to the Mercy Ministry earning the award,” said Reta Baker, Mercy Fort Scott president.

Truven, an IBM Watson Health company, produces the only study of its kind to combine rigorous analysis of individual hospital performance metrics into system-level data, identifying the best health systems in the nation. This annual, quantitative scorecard uses objective, independent research and public data sources. Health systems do not apply for consideration, and winners do not pay to market their award.

“For the second year in a row, we are honored to be named one of the top five large systems in the nation for the medical care we provide to our communities,” said Lynn Britton, president and CEO of Mercy. “We are improving care to our patients while finding new and innovative ways to decrease costs. It’s no small feat, but we are dedicated, like the Sisters of Mercy before us, to provide exceptional care for all.”

Mercy, as well as Mayo, outperformed peers in the following ways:

 Saved more lives and caused fewer patient complications

 Lower cost of care

 Readmitted patients less frequenty

 Shorter wait times in emergency departments

 Shorter hospital stays

 Better patient safety

 Higher patient satisfaction

Some of the keys to improving patient care have included a decade of efforts made possible because of Mercy’s team, leading technology and best practices:

 2,000 integrated physicians – one of the largest groups in the nation – bringing family and specialty doctors together to implement proven, clinical-based best practices to improve patient care

 Among the first organizations in the nation to have a comprehensive electronic health record – one patient, one record – providing real-time, paperless access to patient information

 Specialty councils, made up of physicians, nurses and clinicians, representing more than 40 areas of medicine, providing best practices for everything from heart surgery to the delivery of babies.

Beyond Mercy’s hospitals and clinics in four states, Mercy – also named a top American employer by Forbes magazine – serves 240-plus hospitals across 28 states by providing virtual care, supply chain and information technology expertise.

 Mercy’s Virtual Care Center is the world’s first such facility dedicated to care outside its own walls, monitoring patients 24/7/365 across the country, using high-speed data and video connections and medically intervening when and where patients need it with a comprehensive team approach.

 Mercy’s supply chain, ROi, is one of the world’s top health care supply chain operations. ROi has been named to the Gartner Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25 List for eight consecutive years; the only health care provider in the world to make it in the Top 10 for all eight years.

 Mercy was among the first health care organizations in the U.S. to have an integrated electronic health record (EHR) connecting all points of care. Mercy Technology Services’ broad use of its EHR has been recognized at one of the highest possible levels by Epic.

KState Extension: Do your cows suffer from the summertime blues?

Submitted by Christopher Petty, Southwind Extension Agent

According to the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service, in the late 1970s, it was discovered that the poor performance and toxicosis symptoms were associated with cattle grazing tall fescue infected with the fungus Neotyphodium coenophialum. The terms “fescue fungus,” “endophyte,” “fungal endophyte” and “fescue endophyte” have all been used to describe this fungus.

“Endo” (within) plus “phyte” (plant) means a plant living within another plant. This fungus lives and grows between the cells of a tall fescue plant, and produces no signs or symptoms on the plant. Effects of the endophyte on grazing cattle can be seen as one or more of several clinical signs, including: lower feed intake, lower weight gains and rough hair coats during the summer, lower milk production, reduced reproductive performance, more time spent in shade and water and necrosis of hooves, tail, etc., commonly referred to as “fescue foot.”

An adapted strain of this grass was discovered growing on a farm in Kentucky in 1931. The cultivar “Kentucky-31” was released in the early 1940s, and was widely accepted by farmers throughout the Southeast because of its wide range of adaptation, ease of establishment and persistence. It gained a reputation as a low palatability forage that resulted in poor animal gains and various toxicosis symptoms, even though chemical analysis indicated that tall fescue was as good as any other cool-season grass. It was noted that dry matter intake was less in animals grazing tall fescue compared to those grazing other grasses. Early explanations for the poor palatability and intake were the coarse leaves and stems, and sharp edges on leaves.

In beef cattle, the term “summer slump” has been used to refer to fescue toxicosis, because of the visual symptoms that occur during most summers (e.g. Rough hair coat, extended time in shade and water). Because of this, many people assume that fescue toxicosis is primarily a summer problem. Research has shown that animal performance is reduced throughout the year, with the largest decreases in weight gains occurring during spring rather than summer.

Even though the presence of the endophyte in tall fescue results in toxicity symptoms, there are some positive aspects to endophyte infection. Research and practical experience have shown that endophyte infected tall fescue is more persistent than endophyte-free fescue in pasture. This difference became noticeable as the first endophyte-free varieties were used. Stands of endophyte-infected tall fescue had been grazed for many years and were still solid. The new stands of endophyte-free tall fescue became weedy and were often lost after only a few years. Novel “friendly” endophyte varieties are now available, with less negative consequences for cattle, but still retaining some positive benefits to the fescue.

The greater persistence of infected tall fescue is due to its enhanced ability to tolerate stress. The endophyte increases the tolerance of tall fescue to drought, disease, insects, grazing pressure or combinations of these, resulting in a more persistent plant.

Because of this, all producers with tall fescue pastures should ask themselves two questions: Are my tall fescue pastures infested with the endophyte and if my pastures are infested? What should I do about it? To find answers to these questions contact your local extension office.

Kids Invited to “Blaze a Trail” at Fort Scott NHS this Summer

Fort Scott National Historic Site is pleased to announce the 18th year of its fun-filled Trailblazers program. This program is open to youth ages 9-12; it will be held the week of August 7 – 11, and will run from 8:30 a.m. to noon each day.

Photo Credit: Fort Scott National Historic Site. 2016 Trailblazers Participants.

Trailblazers participants will dig into two different archaeological activities, work on identifying prairie flowers and frontier-era garden plants, participate in the presentation of the colors, and gain knowledge of the methods used to preserve the buildings and artifacts here at the Fort.

Along the way they will learn about the fascinating history of the Old Fort and the National Park Service’s mission of caring for the nation’s natural and cultural treasures. Throughout the week there will be green activities that show youth how our resources can be used more wisely. The week culminates with the kids’ performance of a short play on Friday for their parents.

Registration for the Trailblazers day camp is open now. To sign-up, contact Fort Scott National Historic Site at (620) 223-0310 or email:, with your name and phone number. Participants must be ages 9-12 as of the beginning day of the camp. Participants will be sent an informational packet after registration is complete; there is no charge for the workshop. Since space is limited to 12 participants, priority will be given to youth who have not attended before.

Obituary: Starr Rochell Stephens-Nutter

Submitted by Cheney Witt Funeral Home

Starr Rochelle Stephens-Nutter, age 38, a resident of Arma, Kan., died early Sunday, July 9, 2017, at her home.

She was born February 23, 1979, in Fort Scott, Kan. She graduated from St Mary’s Colgan High School and then went on to Fort Scott Community College and received her associate’s degree. She married Jeremy Nutter on October 6, 2001. She was employed by the Craw-Kan Telephone Company.

Starr is survived by her husband Jeremy of the home; a daughter, Christian Nutter; a brother, Scott Ball of Arcadia, Kan.; and a sister, Susan Shelton of Pittsburg, Kan. She was preceded in death by her dad, Robert Stephens.

There was cremation and a celebration of life will be held at a later date. Arrangements entrusted to the Cheney Witt Chapel.

Obituary: Roger Duane Ranes

Submitted by Cheney Witt Funeral Home

Roger Duane Ranes, age 83, a resident of Moran, Kan., died Thursday, July 13, 2017, at the Franklin House in Fort Scott, Kan.

Roger was born August 23, 1933, in Coffeyville, Kan., the son of Homer L. Ranes and Alma C. Cushman Ranes. He graduated from Leroy High School. He married Ruth Meats. She preceded him in death on October 11, 2011. He served in the United States Navy on the U.S.S. Hancock. While in the Navy, he was stationed in many foreign countries. He loved to hunt and fish, especially catfish. In 1957, he and a friend drove to Alaska in a 1939 Plymouth. He was an avid gardener and loved to coach Little League Baseball.

Survivors include his two sons, David Ranes and wife Verna, and Scott Ranes and wife Randi, all of Mapleton, Kan.; five grandchildren, Chad Ranes, Dereck Ranes, Tyler Ranes, Ethan Ranes and Beckett Ranes; three great-grandchildren, Jaxon Ranes, Talie Henry and Tryke Henry; and a brother, Jerry Russell and wife Betty, of Leroy, Kan. In addition to his wife Ruth, he was preceded in death by a daughter, Denise Ranes; and his parents.

Rev. Chuck Russell will conduct graveside services at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, July 20, 2017, at the Altamont Cemetery in Leroy, Kan. Memorials are suggested to the SEK Humane Society of LaHarpe and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, P.O. Box 347, Ft. Scott, KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at

Fairgrounds Dedicates New Pavilion

The Bourbon County Fair Board and other 4-H and fair participants dedicated the fairgrounds’ new Hubenett Pavilion Saturday evening, celebrating its completion in time for the 2017 County Youth Fair.

The open, covered pavilion with lighting provides a place for organizations, families or other groups to gather at the fairgrounds. The need for such a place was recognized after the completion of the 2016 fair.

“It will be a place to gather and make friendships and memories,” Darrel George said of the pavilion, which will be open to anyone in the community.

The pavilion was named after Terry “Slim” Hubenett, a long-term volunteer at the fairgrounds who donated hours of service to the grounds and the youth and parents involved in 4-H.

George said Hubenett was always available and willing to help with any project, maintenance or other need, even as far as removing a nest of bumblebees. Hubenett remained active in participating until a stroke prevented him from helping as frequently, though he still attends fair board meetings.

“Terry loves the county fair, he loves the 4-Hers, and he also loves the parents and the grandparents,” George said. “We appreciate your years of service.”

Volunteers worked on the pavilion while other donors provided funding and supplies. Those interested in booking the pavilion for an event can contact the fair board.

The county fair started Saturday morning with the dog show. Other events continue throughout the week at the fairgrounds. Check the Facebook page for photos of the events.