Fort Scott businesses to participate in Kansas Day

Downtown businesses in Fort Scott will donate a portion of their sales Friday toward the purchase of a new trolley for the city in honor of Kansas Day, celebrating the 155th birthday of when Kansas became the 34th state of the union.

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During a recent, quarterly meet-and-greet of local businesses in Fort Scott, certain business owners proposed donating five percent of their sales toward that fund during the annual event, which in the past has provided discounts at certain stores in Fort Scott.

Participating stores include Papa Don’s, Crooner’s Lounge, Shirt Shack, Iron Star Antiques, Sharkey’s Pub & Grub, Main Street Gallery & Gifts, Courtland Hotel & Spa, Common Grounds Coffee Co., Bids & Dibs, J & W Sports and Country Cupboard. Those stores will have a sunflower placed in front of their store.

In recent weeks, the local Chamber of Commerce has also posted facts about Kansas on their Facebook page, sharing information about its history, tourist attractions, economy and physical attributes.

FSHS hosts talent show and Mr. FSHS pageant

Fort Scott High School students competed and displayed their skills Tuesday evening with a talent show and Mr. FSHS pageant which featured students representing their school organizations.

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But the pageant participants, from groups such as Future Farmers of America, Student Council, forensics and numerous athletics organization, did not participate in the typical male pageant way. Instead, the contestants wore formal gowns, wigs and makeup while impersonating female voices and using girl names.

In the sportswear and talents portion of the pageant, the participants displayed skills such as playing catch, dancing, lip-synching, weight-lifting and riding scooters or bikes. While modeling their formals, they answered questions such as how they would change the world or solve world hunger, as well as who they want to win the Superbowl and who their favorite musical artist is.

Based on the response from the full audience, the field of nine participants was narrowed to five and then the final two before Devonte “Devonna” Robison of the baseball team was crowned the winner. Other participants included Brandon Owenby, Sebastian Loyd, Brody Southwell, Jordan Phillips, Dalton Weddle, Thomas Nighswonger and Wyatt Tourtillot.

Other students participated in the talent show with talents such as singing, playing instruments, dancing, quoting original poetry and showing a video they created. The FSHS Thespian Troupe, who benefited from the fundraiser event, also performed improvisation comedy.

After consideration by judges Jared Martin, Janet Braun and Shawn LaSota, Greg Lorenz was awarded third place for his dance routine, Clare Gorman and Grace Willis second place for their duet and Alex King first place for singing and playing guitar.

Students Blaine Thompson and Nate Mead served as the masters of ceremonies for the evening while other students helped with the sound, lights and stage set-up.

Virtual Dementia Tour puts participants in their world

Mercy Hospital and Country Place Senior Living partnered together Monday and Tuesday to provide members of the community an opportunity to learn about the effects of dementia and experience what it could feel like to have such a disease.

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The approximate 60 participants in the tours were given a list of tasks to complete in a patient’s room at the hospital, including assignments such as folding towels, taking ‘pills,’ setting the table, putting clothes away, picking up trash or even just plugging a phone into its charger.

But while doing these tasks, they had to wear specific sunglasses that impaired their vision, inserts for their shoes that caused discomfort, gloves that limited dexterity and headphones that blocked their hearing while adding other sounds such as traffic or other everyday noises. Those items allowed them to experience what someone with dementia could suffer from, such as macular degeneration, arthritis or neuropathy.

“We’ve given you the sense of what it would feel like to have dementia,” said Cheri Bauer, director of operations at Country Place, whose memory care facility should be complete in March.

While no two cases are the same, Bauer said such physical ailments can be a common result, as well as problems with memory that can cause people to forget their own loved ones or suddenly not recognize the places they frequent regularly.

Sisters Barbara Freer and Cecelia Kramer participated in the tour, saying they have had family members who died of Alzheimer’s as well as their sister who is currently facing later stages of the disease.

“It made me feel so sad that people have to live with this,” Kramer said after going through the tour, while Freer said the tour was very worthwhile for them.

Darcy Sims, director of the Country Place facilities, said several family members of those with dementia participated in the tour as well as caregivers who help care for people with the disease regularly.

“The families are so desperate for health and advice,” Bauer said, saying music therapy has often helped while doctors should also be asked for assistance for decisions such as preventing them from driving.

Because of the level of interest in the tour and limited number of spots, the hospital will again host the virtual tours Feb. 18, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“You get to walk out,” Bauer said when the participants finished the tour after about five minutes in the simulation, expressing the anxiety and confusion the experience caused. “Our loved ones don’t.”

Fort Scott students find success at first forensics tournament of the season

Submitted by Amber Toth, Jan. 25

[The Fort Scott High School Forensics Team] took first at Girard; a great opening weekend of forensics.

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Photo Credit: Amber Toth

Seth Cross took second in impromptu and poetry. Garrett Tatro took second in Domestic extemporaneous and original oration.  Autumn Warren-Rice took 5th in domestic extemporaneous. Joe Adams took 4th in international extemporaneous and 4th in informative. Tayton Majors took 5th in international extemporaneous. Xavier Watkins took 6th in poetry. Tristan Watkins took third in poetry. Thomas Nighswonger took 5th in poetry and second in humorous interpretation. Suzi Owen took first on oration and 5th in dramatic interpretation. Charlotte Hutchison took first in duo with Sebastian Loyd and third in informative speaking. Asia Ferrington and Ashton Williams took second in duo. Logan Hall and Dalton Womeldorff took third in duo. Bella Isabella Provence took first in humorous interpretation. Mary Grace Schick took 4th in humorous interpretation. Hunter Parker took 5th in humorous interpretation.

Also competing today were students who ranged from one speaker point from finals to one point from finals: Jake Province, Hannah Reel, Darby Toth, Breana Mooney, Sara Al-Shawish, Nick Shelton, Georgia Loyd and Caitlyn Killion. Due to being limited on entries, novices had to observe this weekend. Zach Humble was a great team manager.

It’s hard to come off of state debate weekend and be ready to go. I have to say you guys rocked and came through like always. We had 21 out of 30 events in finals.

Mentor Program looks for more participants

For a third year, Fort Scott High School has partnered with leaders and other members of the community in a mentor program that allows upper-classmen to meet with adult mentors throughout their school year.

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This school year, 12 students have been paired with adults, including some who work at Mercy Hospital, the Medicalodges, area banks and restaurants and other places of business. But Jessica Cook, marketing, relations and events coordinator for the Chamber of Commerce, said they still have students who would like to participate, but the program is short on mentors.

“We’re always looking for more people to be mentors,” Cook said, saying their requirements are that the mentors have time to meet with the students at least twice a month though they are encouraged to interact further if possible, such as by bringing the student to their place of business.

On Thursday, mentors and high school students gathered during a lunch break at the high school to hear Colleen Quick, human resources manager at Carlisle Belts, share advice about how to apply for a job and write a resume.

Students, some of whom said they had never held a job previously, were given tips such as to dress appropriately for an interview, be courteous, turn off cell phones, research the company, come prepared to ask and answer questions and send a thank you note or email after an interview. She also said resumes should be written carefully and include experiences such as school, church and community activities, even if the students had never had a job.

“That’s your opportunity to sell yourself,” Quick said of the resume.

Cook said they plan to hold such meetings in the future, as more group gatherings was one of the requests from past students involved in the program.