Fort Scott welcomes Soleil Tan with ribbon-cutting

On New Year’s Eve, Fort Scott and the Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Soleil Tan, a tanning salon bringing its services to Fort Scott after opening a similar location in Nevada.

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“I feel like we’re going to do really well here,” general manager Devin Miller said, saying their presence was requested by some of Nevada’s customers who had been traveling from Fort Scott, so they began working to bring it to the area more than a year ago. “We felt there was a need.”

The business offers a range of tanning levels on different beds manufactured in Kansas City, some sessions lasting about six minutes and going up to 15 minutes. It also provides teeth whitening and tanning lotions and moisturizers that Miller said can help tans last longest. Miller said they hope to add more services in the future.

“Our mission has always been to dispel the myths about sun beds and explain the science behind UV tanning,” Miller said, saying they use a controlled environment of UV exposure in moderation. “Our goal is to earn our customers’ business with a well-trained staff, a clean environment and a relaxing experience that gives great results.”

To go with their grand opening, Miller said they are offering specials including 12 tanning sessions for the price of 10 and 20 percent off lotions. The first tan is also always free.

Soleil Tan will be open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Miller said those hours may change based on demand. Appointments can be made via their text line, sending those messages to 620-215-0176.

“The place looks beautiful,” Chamber of Commerce director Lindsay Madison said of the building they renovated and cleaned up. “And we’re just glad you’re here.”

Other announcements concerned New Year’s Eve events being held at Vinedo del Alamo Winery and the Liberty Theatre at 8:30 p.m., and music and a champagne toast at Sharkey’s.

On Feb. 9, at 1 p.m., the Fort Scott National Historic Site will host a program concerning pasture burning for the cost of $10. The 10-month LEAD Bourbon County program is also still accepting applicants.

County Commission reviews 2015 budget

In preparing for the new year, the Bourbon County Commission went over the 2015 budget to make sure the financial numbers lined up and to see where changes could be made to make the 2016 budget more accurate.

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Attorney Justin Meeks, county treasurer Rhonda Dunn and Jim Harris of the road and bridge department met with the commission Tuesday to discuss the revenue, expenditures and totals from the 2015 budget.

Out of the approximate $11 million annual budget for Bourbon County, the totals up through just last week showed $72,635.97 cash remaining in the general fund, with the few remaining days left in 2015 to go. That is the sum after more than $396,000 was set aside to carry over into the 2016 budget, though some cash reserves from previous years were also used.

Dunn shared that the general fund’s total revenue was down by about $185,000, coming from specific areas such as the motor vehicle tax, mortgage reimbursements and other taxes. But while the budgeted revenues did not come in as predicted, the expenditures were also down, helping even out the totals.

“We anticipated this,” commission chairman Barbara Albright said, saying they expected it to be a tight year and are planning for similar budget restrictions in 2016.

Dunn said she believes they collected much of the budgeted revenue and is not sure why the numbers were down across the different departments. Dunn will look at the previous five years to see if the totals follow a trend or if it could possibly be an accounting and budgeting issue.

The main discrepancy was found in the employee benefits department—including the social security, workman’s compensation and life insurance—which had a revenue of more than $2.3 million when it was only budgeted for $1.3 million, leaving a surplus that could not be put in the cash fund since it was not budgeted.

The road and bridge department also suffered a shortfall, but Dunn and Harris worked hard and found a way to transfer funds once bond money comes in to reimburse the department, resulting in $33,492.85 left in its balance.

While the budget is tight, Albright said it definitely could have been worse. Moving forward, she said they will try not to be too optimistic in their budgeting and remain careful in their spending.

The commission approved some amendments in the budget, including the road and bridge transfers as well as other changes to the employee benefits, noxious weed and landfill departments. Any other significant changes will not be made until about February of the new year, after the data is further analyzed.

Fort Scott NHS volunteer to be in New Year’s Parade

One of Fort Scott National Historic Site’s volunteers will have the opportunity this weekend to ride in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., which will feature the National Parks Service’s Find Your Adventure theme in honor of its centennial celebration in 2016.

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Barrett Young, a resident of Paola and Fort Scott Community College student, began volunteering at the local historic site in 2007, participating in numerous reenactments and other events at the fort since then.

Young was invited to ride in the opening theme banner float of the parade in recent months by Mike Matthiessen, president of the Tournament of Roses, who met Young in May of 2012 when he and his parents visited the Tournament House in Pasadena. Young will be representing the more than 220,000 volunteers in the National Park Service.

“When I got the email inviting me to ride the theme float in the 2016 Tournament of Roses Parade, I felt undeserving,” Young said. “At first I did not want to do it because I felt others deserved the honor more than I did.”

But Young said he accepted the invitation when he realized it would give him the opportunity to represent Fort Scott National Historic Site and other Kansas NPS sites.

Young was selected as a result of his support of and passion for the NPS, which has led him to visit all 50 states and 379 of the 409 NPS sites as well as 49 other NPS affiliated sites. He has also completed more than 390 junior and senior ranger programs and promotes the NPS by speaking at community events or organizations and setting up displays, such as at libraries, senior citizen meetings and rotary club meetings.

Young said he hopes to have a career in the NPS, and has ever since he began volunteering and reenacting with his parents.

Debate Team finds success in regional debate tournament

Submitted by Amber Toth, USD 234 debate coach, Dec. 20

We started Christmas vacation with the regional debate tournament in Parsons. There were six schools in our 4A regional. We competed against Coffeyville, Independence, Chanute, Wellington, Mulvane and Parsons.

Photo Credit: Amber Toth
Photo Credit: Amber Toth

The team of Joe Adams and Isabella Provence were the Affirmative and went undefeated. The negative team of Zach Humble and Seth Cross only dropped two rounds. Our alternates were Breana Mooney and Hunter Parker.

We walked away with a regional championship. Mulvane came in second. These students, along with the two-speaker teams of Sebastian Loyd/Charlotte Hutchison, Garrett Tatro/Darby Toth, Tayton Majors/Sara Al-Shawish, and Jake Province/Suzi Owen will be representing us at state. Rebekah Sweyko and Ethan Tatro also qualify for state as novices. Unfortunately, due to the cap on entries, the younger team will not be competing at state.

I am so proud of this team. They are strong across the board. State will be in Independence on January 15th and 16th. The very next weekend we will begin our forensics season. Enjoy your break. I know we will.

Grain Elevator to go through improvements, changes

In recent weeks, equipment has been spotted at the old grain elevator located at Wall Street and Highway 69 as crews begin work to repair the old concrete in preparation for other improvements and changes.

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Neil Burkhardt, who is overseeing the Wall Street Properties and is assisting in the project plans for the building on behalf of its owner, said the goal is to turn the building into a facility for entertainment and recreation, such as repelling or other physical activities.

“It’s to try to create some activities for local people and bring people from out of town,” Burkhardt said, saying they are researching what would work with the building and what the city allows. “That’s in the process of being thought out and checked out.”

Burkhardt said those involved in the project are still kicking around ideas, but while doing that the building is being cleaned, repaired and painted. The goal is to have a plan in place by late spring.

“Just keep an eye on it,” Burkhardt said of the project.

Tigers fall in final 2015 basketball games

In the last basketball games of the 2015 calendar year, neither the varsity boys nor girls teams could hold off the Chanute Blue Comets Friday evening, despite hard-fought games and loud support from their fans.

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The Tigers boys’ team just narrowly missed ending the year with a win after leading by seven points at half time, only to score a total of nine more points the remainder of the game, which included four minutes of overtime.

The Tigers lost the lead before the end of the third quarter, but managed to tie the game twice in the fourth quarter to take it into overtime. But with one second left in overtime, trailing by just one point, the Tigers lost possession and then the game to the Comets, 37-35.

While their defense kept Chanute to well below their average points per game for the season, their own offense ultimately kept them from ending the night with a win, despite 16 points including three three-pointers from senior Kaleb DeLaTorre and six points apiece from seniors Josh Hudiburg and Austin Cook.

The girls also struggled with offense as they faced a taller team in the Lady Comets, with a 3-2 lead in the early minutes of the game being their only lead of the evening. Despite holding Chanute to only seven free throws and no field goals in the fourth quarter, the Lady Tigers fell 59-35.

Senior Ashley Cook led the team with 11 points, including three three-pointers, while junior Emily Hale added seven points. The Tigers play again in Fort Scott on January 8.

A portion of the student section in attendance came dressed in Star Wars costumes in honor of the movie’s recent release and bearing signs with words of encouragement along the same theme, including ‘May the Fort be with you.’

Public Library provides Christmas party for local children

During a Christmas party Saturday, the Fort Scott Public Library gave children an opportunity to decorate Christmas cookies, wrap gifts, make crafts, hunt for candy canes, earn prizes and even have a “snowball” fight.

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Youth librarian Valeta Cannon and other library staff and volunteers from the community helped organize and run the event that split the children up into separate groups in order to participate in age-appropriate activities.

Throughout the year the library has provided a reading time each Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. for those children not in school yet, reading stories on specific themes, singing songs and doing crafts before ending with a snack time. A holiday story time will be held Tuesday morning for families with children before taking a break for the holidays.