Commissioners discuss efficiency of operations at landfill, address 911 system flaws

At today’s County Commissioners’ meeting, commissioners revisited the issue of the landfill filling quickly from storm-related debris. Commissioner Allen Warren estimated the containers full of shingles and discarded roofing materials weigh about 10-12 tons. Warren said, “It’s a mountain–it’s an absolute mountain” in reference to the amount of discarded materials being unloaded each day at the landfill. However, there is room for the extra material on the west side of the landfill between the pit and the fence. Warren encouraged landfill employees to deposit shingles in an area that would not require employees to move piles of shingles with a bulldozer. According to Warren, it would be more efficient fuel-wise not to use the bulldozer to push shingles, which the bulldozer does not do efficiently.

Commissioners also listened as J. R. Stewart presented his concerns involving the 911 system and his address. He explained that fire crews have been misdirected by the system in the past when his barn caught fire, delaying them 20 minutes. Stewart proposed that a section of 235th street be renamed “235th Terrace” in order to eliminate the confusion in the system, and all three commissioners were in agreement.

Other news:

  • Commissioners signed three resolutions involving the purchase of the courthouse annex building at 108 West 2nd. Resolution 15-13 approved the purchase of the building, while Resolution 16-13 approved the sale of $190,000 in general obligation bonds.
  • Attorney Dan Meara requested the commissioners delay this year’s tax sale in order to allow more properties to be processed before the sale. According to Meara, this action could provide a better number of properties to be presented at the sale and might generate more interest. Meara said, “It’s like any public auction–the more tracts [of land] you have, the more interest you have.”Meara pointed out that at times, the sale costs the county more than it profits from the sale, but Commission Chairman Warren pointed out that it would be good to get the land in question back into the hands of someone that will pay taxes on it, and that the taxes would make up for any money lost.
  • Commissioners reviewed bids for fish food to be used at Elm Creek Lake and accepted the low bid from Tractor Supply Co., which was $607.60 per ton.

City develops emergency plan in case of severe weather during Good O’l Days

At today’s Chamber Coffee, chamber members and visitors listened intently as Rhonda Dunn outlined the entertainment to be available at this weekend’s Good O’l Days celebration. Dunn thanked the community and local businesses for their support saying, “We know where our bread is buttered, and we really appreciate it [support from businesses].” Dunn mentioned that the Good O’l Days has never been rained out since its beginnings in 1982, and that the city would have an emergency plan in case of severe weather moving through the area in the next few days.

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Fire Chief Paul Ballou stepped forward to give those in attendance an idea of what that plan would be. Ballou said that Memorial Hall would be used as an emergency shelter in the event of severe weather, and that any overflow of people from Memorial Hall would be sheltered in the nearby Methodist Church in downtown Fort Scott. Dunn commented that she was impressed by the quick response of the city in formulating the plan. She said, “All it took was a phone call” to set things in motion.

Other news:

  • The Bourbon County Long-term Relief Committee is still accepting donations from contractors and others who have building materials to donate at a location near Trainwreck Tees on North National in Fort Scott. Those interested in donating should text Craig Campbell, Director of Pharmacy at Sisters of Mercy Health System.
  • The Fort Scott Idol competition will be held this evening at 6:00PM at Memorial Hall. Tickets ($3, 5 and under get in free) are available at Country Cupboard until 4 o’clock today and are also available at the door. According to Rhonda Dunn, 30 contestants are scheduled to compete.
  • A Mercy Hospital Seminar meeting on the Affordable Care Act will be held today from 3:00PM-4:30PM. This seminar is a free service of Greenbush and is open to the public.
  • New attractions at the Good O’l Days include a new carnival, Professor Farquar and Polecat Annie, the James Ernest Zydeco band. All of the traditional events, music and vending of past years will also be available to festival goers.

Hail damage affects structures at Gunn Park

Though most of us are aware of damage done in residential areas of Fort Scott to homes and vehicles, we may not have considered the damage done to other structures within the city. One of the harder hit areas of town seems to be along Burke Street, which is very near one of Fort Scott’s most beautiful attractions–Gunn Park. Though at first glance the park may look undamaged, a closer look reveals some destruction.

Most notably, several of the newer playground structures were damaged, rendering them unusable and unsafe. Thankfully the city quickly took notice of the safety hazard and placed a temporary fence and warning signs around each of the damaged playground areas.

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One of the structures by the 2nd lake actually has a large hole in the slide portion of the play area, which shows just how forcefully the hail came down during the storm.

In addition, several shelter house roofs have been damaged, most notably the roof of the Fern Lake shelter house.

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The good news is that the city seems to have put new metal roofs on quite a few shelter houses already, including one of the historic shelter houses by the 2nd lake which was built by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression.

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The photo below shows a plaque commemorating the efforts of the Works Progress Administration and the City of Fort Scott during the Great Depression.

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Other familiar sights at the park, such as the old grills, have escaped damage from the storm. Perhaps the old saying, “They don’t make things like they used to” is true in this case!

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Lee’s Paws and Claws Animal Shelter

Most of us would call any organization that betters the community a good investment, but Lee’s Paws and Claws Animal Shelter (located at 721 240th Street in Fort Scott) goes above and beyond in that respect. The shelter, opened in July 2012, has rescued a large amount of animals since it opened. According to Interim Director Ann Gillmore-Hoffman, the shelter has taken in 109 dogs and 85 cats, while it has adopted out 73 dogs and 46 cats. The shelter has also returned 6 animals to their owners and transferred 27 animals to other no-kill shelters.

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Open Every Day 10:00 AM-2:00 PM

 

As visitors enter the shelter, they are greeted with a very clean, bright atmosphere and plenty of well-cared-for animals. The dogs have neatly designed runs that offer indoor/outdoor access as the animal chooses, while the cats have what all cats love–carpeted structures to climb and soft beds on which to take frequent catnaps.

According to Gillmore-Hoffman, the shelter plays an important part in the community in that it provides “a safe, healthy environment for stray or unwanted animals.” The community has gotten involved in several ways in the past year. Students from Fort Scott High School FFA along with other organizations raised $1,000 for the shelter, while kindergarten classes brought food and small monetary donations to the shelter at Christmastime. In addition, the FSCC softball team members take turns volunteering to walk dogs for the shelter. Gillmore-Hoffman mentions, “There is a lot of community involvement already, but we need a few checkbooks[to be involved]!” She says that fundraisers are essential to keeping the shelter running, and that having regular volunteers helps as well.

One big event coming up for the shelter is the “Strut Your Mutt” at Good O’l Days to be held Friday May 31st at 7:00PM. This event is an important fundraiser for the shelter, so get out there and show off your canine friends! In addition, the shelter will have a booth at Good O’l Days and will also be host on June 18th to Pawprints On the Heartland, an organization that offers low cost spay and neutering.

To get involved financially or by providing volunteer time, please contact the shelter at (620)-223-2888 or send them a check at PO Box  343, Fort Scott, Kansas 66701.

P.S. As an added bonus, you just might get a chance to hold a lap full of soft, purring kittens or cuddle with a friendly dog.

County Commissioners sign annual audit approval, address community concerns

At today’s meeting, County Commissioners signed an annual audit approval to be done by Terry Sercer, and also passed Resolution 14-13 to name Diehl-Banwart-Bolton as auditor for 2012 financial records for Bourbon County.

Commissioners also addressed a concern from local contractor Hubert Thomas of Thomas Construction Incorporated. Thomas was concerned that bids had not been consistently advertised in the past and requested that Warren, Coleman and Albright correct the problem by beginning to advertise all bids despite the precedent. Commissioners agreed that all bids should be advertised and agreed to change the practice.

Other announcements:

  • The courthouse and landfill will be closed for the Memorial Day holiday, with the exception that the landfill will by open only Saturday from 8AM-4PM
  • Commissioners revisited goals for 2013, which include hosting a sub-county meeting (which they have done), and developing the county calendar so that the community is aware of what is going on in Bourbon County

Chamber addresses community concerns, members learn history of FSPD

At this morning’s chamber coffee, those in attendance were greeted with the meticulously-kept bays of the Fort Scott Fire Department. The Fort Scott Police Department hosted the meeting, and sounds of laughter and jovial conversation rang throughout the room.

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Barbara Albright, member of the Chamber Board, welcomed attendees and asked for new Chamber of Commerce members or visitors to step forward. Common Ground coffee shop announced the hiring of a new manager, Tyler Hazen. Everyone in attendance seemed excited about the presence of the coffee shop in the community. Let’s face it–not many of us do well without our daily cup of joe!

Albright started the weekly “Dollars for Dolly,” in which members of the Chamber of Commerce may step forward and make announcements related to their businesses or the community by donating a dollar to the Chamber. Macy Cullison, City Economic Development Director, announced the opening of the Aquatic Center on Monday, May 27th. Cullison remarked, “We have a great staff of supervisors and lifeguards.”

City Manager David Martin and County Commissioner Barbara Albright next addressed a concern from the community that truckers traveling through the area cannot find places to eat early in the morning/late at night. Albright assured everyone that the Chamber considers informing local hospitality businesses and convenience stores of the needs of visitors an ongoing responsibility.

Martin also remarked that when he first accepted the position of City Manager, he was told that the police might not get along with the community, and that the police and fire departments might not get along. However, Martin said that both departments have proven that statement incorrect. Of the good rapport between the police department and the community, Martin said, “I have two chiefs that believe that [police and community can remain on good terms] from the bottom of their hearts” and that the police chief and staff have “citizens at their heart.”

Following this discussion, Chief Travis Shelton presented a short history of the Fort Scott Police Department. According to Shelton, Kathy West had the idea to collect and compile old photos of the Police Department to preserve its history. Shelton presented a few photos via projector and encouraged those in the community who held such photos to consider letting the department scan them and keep copies. Shelton presented a few interesting facts about the department’s past:

  • 1860–Fort Scott had only one town marshall
  • 1873–The department held a municipal ball to raise money to buy uniforms for police officers
  • 1878–James Eggleston was appointed as the first African-American police officer on the force

Other announcements:

  • The Aquatic Center has received a generous donation that has enabled the pool to offer season passes to lower-income families
  • Food 4 Summer program to be hosted at Buck Run Community Center. Volunteers needed to deliver food.
  • Terri Coop has formed the Bourbon County Long-term Recovery Committee in order to promote recovery in lower-income areas of the city. This program allows contractors to drop off leftover building/roofing materials north of town at the former site of Midwest Trucking.
  • Gary Palmer announced the ongoing photo exhibit “A Day in the Life of Fort Scott’s Working World” at Fort Scott Community College. The exhibit is located in the Ellis Family Fine Arts Center and according to Palmer, displays 31 photos. The project was funded by a grant written by Jill Warford of the Gordon Parks Center at FSCC.
  • Life + Style will present their “We Love Local Sale” May 28th-31st. The sale will include 20% off bake ware, pots and pans.

City of Fort Scott Press Release–City Pool Opening!

“It is pool season again! The City of Fort Scott is happy to announce that the Fort Scott Aquatic Center will be opening for the 2013 Aquatic Season on Monday, May 27th at 1:00PM. This season, Aquatic Center hours will be 1:00-7:00PM Monday through Saturday, and Sunday from 1:00-6:00PM. The Aquatic Center will be open full time through August 11th. For the remainder of the month in August, the Aquatic Center will be open weekends only (Aug 17-18, 24-25, and 31-Sep 2) from 1:00-6:00PM.

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Opening Monday May 27th at 1:00PM

Aquatic Center admission prices and season pass prices have remained the same this year. For more information on pricing, please contact the Aquatic Center office starting May 27th at 223.8142. Season passes will be sold throughout the summer during normal Aquatic Center hours, with the exception of the first week of operation; from May 27th-31st, season passes will only be sold from 9:00AM-Noon.

We are excited to kick off summer with the opening of the Aquatic Center and hope you and your family will join us for some pool fun this season!”