USD 234 to provide online enrollment

With the software already in place, the Unified School District 234 will utilize online enrollment for the first time this school semester as a means to provide a more convenient method for parents and guardians to enroll their students and make payments.

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“We hope it’s a great asset for our parents,” business manager Gina Shelton said during the board of education meeting held Monday evening, pointing out that the same process will be completed by parents, whether done in person or online.

The online enrollment will kick off Friday, July 15, and will allow guardians to log into their Parent PowerSchool account, where they can enroll students, pay textbook fees and add money to lunch accounts electronically. That online enrollment will be available until at least about a week prior to the Sept. 1, school start date, providing time for the information to be imported.

Any progress made in the enrollment process can also be saved and returned to later at the parent’s convenience. Those enrolling more than one student can decide to enroll and pay for one student at a time instead of all at once or having to make numerous trips to the school offices.

“We’ve had some good feedback, I feel like, from anticipation of people doing it,” Shelton said of the response so far.

Shelton said the school completed a couple internal tests already and said the process is simple, likely taking only about 15 minutes, but Shelton encourages parents to go ahead and start gathering information so that process will not be delayed once it is started. Some of that information required includes contact information for parents and step-parents, such as phone numbers, addresses and social security numbers; three emergency contacts, preferably local; and the student’s basic medical information such as immunizations, personal doctor and any allergies.

With the easily available opportunity to use electronic payments such as credit or debit cards as well as checks, Shelton said they hope it may reduce the number of returned checks, adding the entire process will help the district save money.

New students to the district will still be required to enroll in person.

Those needing to find out who their students’ teachers will be in the upcoming semester can contact the individual school secretaries after Aug. 17. That information will be posted on Parent PowerSchool about a week after that date.

If anyone comes across an issue while enrolling online, they can contact Jason Fryar at jfryar@usd234.org or contacting the board office at 620-223-0800 for assistance.

“We want to be as helpful as possible,” Shelton said, especially as it is their first year of using the online enrollment.

Shelton said the only thing that cannot be done online is the free and reduced food application, which still needs to be printed out and sent in or dropped off at the school. Shelton encourages all parents to fill them out because it affects school funding.

Shelton also pointed out that there will be a flat textbook fee of $35 this year instead of providing reduced textbook fees based on free and reduced lunches. Accommodations may be available for those unable to pay at once.

During their July meeting, the board of education also took time to reorganize itself as it does annually. Jordan Witt was nominated to be the board president for another year. Gary Billionis submitted his resignation from the board, effective immediately. Jamie Armstrong was nominated to take his place as board vice president. Vanessa Poyner was named the hearing officer for suspensions and expulsions.

Arts Council to host second summer Art Walk

A month after members of the community and artists gathered to enjoy and purchase art, the Bourbon County Arts Council is again holding an Art Walk on Friday at the Liberty Theatre Courtyard, from 5 to 8 p.m.

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The downtown Fort Scott event is still accepting artist entries to set up their wares at no cost, providing an opportunity for artists to show and sell their art. Those interested in registering as an artist can contact Deb Anderson of the BCAC at 620-224-8650 or drpeppersilly@yahoo.com for a registration form.

The event is also free to the public, with some appetizers and drinks provided by Crooners as well as the chance to see and purchase numerous different forms of art, including photography, paintings, crafts, pottery and ceramics and a variety of others.

The Bunker brings weapons training and retail to Fort Scott

During their grand opening held Saturday July 2, The Bunker drew a large number of visitors to their downtown store to purchase weapons and other gear or learn about the training courses the store will offer.

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Chad Wise, a member of the United States Army and assistant professor currently stationed at Fort Leavenworth, said he is scheduled to retire this year and, about three years ago, he and his wife Melissa began considering a business such as The Bunker where he could continue putting his skills gained through the army to good use.

“Why not find a way to utilize it?” Wise said of that knowledge of firearms and training from his time spent in the army and teaching graduate level courses to officers. “I wanted something else to do.”

Recognizing the growing demand for firearms and concealed carry licenses as gun laws continue to change, Wise said they began working towards opening The Bunker, with great support from the city and the community, to bring not just weapons retail but training courses to Fort Scott.

“I think there’s always a need for weapons safety and being comfortable with a firearm,” Wise said.

Currently, The Bunker will open its doors 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Saturday until Wise retires, with more hours potentially being added to that based on the community’s interest. A wide variety of new and used weapons and other equipment will be available at the store located on Scott Avenue.

Starting next week, The Bunker will also regularly offer training courses at an off-site, outdoor range located about six miles west of Fort Scott, where participants can receive basic instruction including self-defense, safety, shooting techniques, loading and unloading a weapon and other aspects of using pistols and rifles. Different technical courses will offer a range of training for participants with different levels of experience.

Events include couples’ and ladies’ nights as well as classes on conceal carry. Group team-building events can also be scheduled for any organizations or businesses interested in a group outing.

Wise said some classes have already sold out, but more will continue to be scheduled. Depending on the demand, he added they hope to possibly add an indoor range at their downtown location as well.

Already, Wise said they have received a good response concerning the classes, which will be informative as well as fun, as different competitions and even meals are provided during select courses.

“A family-friendly environment is really important to us,” Wise said, saying they will not teach offensive tactics, but defensive and self-protection strategies.

The classes will be taught by Wise as well as Mike Trim, of the local police department, and his brother Nick. Weapons and ammunition will be available for rent for the courses and ear and eye protection can be provided if needed.

Those interested in learning more about The Bunker and what it offers can visit it at 108 Scott Avenue and at their website, www.thebunkerllc.com.

Upcoming events in Fort Scott

A number of announcements concerning upcoming community events were shared during the weekly Chamber Coffee Thursday morning. Stay up to date on these events and more by visiting the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism website.

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This week’s Chamber Coffee event was hosted at the Public Safety Building and and also took time to recognize the local police and fire departments and dispatch for their service to the city for more than a century.

  • The Young Professionals League will hold their July luncheon Friday at noon at Papa Don’s, delayed a week because of the holiday weekend. Published author Michael Smith will be the guest speaker. The YPL will then hold a social gathering at the Vinedo Del Alamo Winery for a wine-tasting event Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
  • The annual Marmaton Massacre will again be held at Gunn Park as a two-day event, Saturday and Sunday, and will include activities such as live music, camping, a kids’ race as well as the marathon and bike trials on Saturday and the main event and category races on Sunday. Cyclists and even others not interested in the races are invited to come to the park and enjoy the family-friendly festivities.
  • On Tuesday, July 12, the Beaux Arts Centre will host the quarterly, downtown meet and greet at 8:30 a.m. Representatives from downtown businesses as well as members of the community interested in gathering information are encouraged to attend.
  • My Father’s House will hold a fundraising pancake breakfast Saturday July 16, beginning at 9 a.m., with the meal costing $5 per adult and $3 for children.
  • A Texas Hold ‘Em event will be held Saturday July 16, at 3 p.m. as a fundraiser to raise about $5,500 for new uniforms for the Fort Scott High School girls’ basketball team.
  • CrossFit Fort Scott will celebrate its first year in the city with a birthday celebration and kickball tournament Saturday July 23, at 10 a.m. at Gunn Park. Teams and other members of the community are encouraged to come participate.
  • The candidate forum for the August 2, election is tentatively scheduled for Monday July 25, to be hosted by the Chamber of Commerce at the Ellis Fine Arts Center at Fort Scott Community College.
  • With the Bark in the Park dog park nearing completion at Gunn Park, a ribbon-cutting and grand opening event is scheduled to be held Saturday August 6, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will include free pet toys, snacks and even a dog costume and best trick contest for those who attend.
  • Fort Scott Community College will host their annual Black and White Gala on August 13. Fewer than 100 tickets remain and should be purchased as soon as possible.

City Commission approves technological improvements

During their first July meeting, the Fort Scott City Commission approved a series of recommendations from financial director Jon Garrison and director of informational technology Dustin McClure to improve the efficiency of the technology among the public buildings.

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The three requests the commission unanimously approved included changes to the city website, economic development website, fiber systems and phone system. While some of the items require the city to commit sums of money to the improvements, others will save the city even larger amounts in upcoming years.

The planning process to update the current phone system to a digital program began a couple years ago and, although it will cost $20,000 initially, the city would then save about $46,000 each year. The phone lines will move away from the current 62 lines used between the city buildings.

“We are able to improve our technology but also save quite a bit of money,” Garrison said of the change.

In recent years, the city also got a high-speed fiber network through Suddenlink, but now needs to expand that reach. By working with the county and United School District 234, the city will be able to connect their own fiber system with the other taxing entities’ to connect city hall to other places such as the police station and public works facility.

“It just opens up a wide variety of benefits, not only for us, but for the school and the county,” Garrison said, while McClure emphasized the shared lines will not compromise security from the other entities and will be redundant enough that, if a line went down, the entities would not each lose their systems.

This project will cost about $60,000 and is available in the city budget.

City Manager Dave Martin said having the high-speed fiber network is key to the city moving forward, especially by connecting them to the police department.

The final project approved by the commission included hiring Civic Plus to make updates to the city website for a total of $46,014 stretched over three years. The changes would allow visitors to the website to accomplish more such as receiving or giving information. Martin said a city’s website is often crucial for businesses or potential visitors considering coming to Fort Scott.

“We feel very strongly that it’s something we need to do to continue moving the city forward,” Garrison said.

The city also heard a report from Director of Economic Development Heather Smith concerning her plan to separate the economic development website from the city’s, apart from sharing a link, so that economic information can be found readily without being lost in other city details. Smith said she plans to work with the area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism on the site.

Kids invited to a fun week at National Historic Site during Trailblazer Program

Submitted July 1

Calling all kids in Fort Scott and the surrounding area! Are you bored sitting around the house playing video games this summer? Are you looking for something fun and exciting to do? Do you like to dig in the dirt? Or act in a play? How about doing scavenger hunts or looking through old buildings?

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Photo Credit: Fort Scott National Historic Site

All of these activities will be offered as part of Fort Scott National Historic Site’s Trailblazer program for youth from ages 9-12. Participants can sign up for one of two weeks, July 18–22 or August 1–5, with programs running from 8:30 a.m. to noon each of those days.

During the week, youth will dig for buried treasure, explore the fascinating creatures and plants of the prairie, go green and have fun. The program will attempt to answer the question: “Kids, will they love National Parks?” We hope by the end of this week that the response will be yes!

A new and exciting element this year is an artist workshop. Youth will be guided by a professional artist in creating National Park Service inspired paintings, drawings, etc., that they will show off to their parents.

Registration for the workshop is underway. To register, contact Fort Scott National Historic Site at (620) 223-0310. Participants must be aged 9-12 years as of the beginning day of the camp. They will be sent an informational packet after registration is complete. There is no charge for the workshop.

FSCC Students Shine at SkillsUSA National Competition

Submitted June 29

Two Fort Scott Community College students earned medals at the 52nd annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference held in Louisville, Ky., on June 22 and 23.

Photo Credit: FSCC. Pictured from left to right: Nacoma Oehme, FSCC Program Industry Coordinator; Mack O’Dell, FSCC student; Matt Volmer, FSCC student; and Kim Coates, FSCC Carpentry Instructor.
Photo Credit: FSCC. Pictured from left to right: Nacoma Oehme, FSCC Program Industry Coordinator; Mack O’Dell, FSCC student; Matt Volmer, FSCC student; and Kim Coates, FSCC Carpentry Instructor.

Matt Volmer, FSCC Construction Trades student, competed in the college carpentry division and earned first place for the second year in a row. Mack O’Dell competed in the high school masonry division and earned third place. O’Dell is a Pittsburg High School student who is receiving dual college credit through a program at FSCC.

“We are extremely proud of Matt and Mack. They have worked diligently over the past several months to prepare for the national competition, and their hard work and dedication paid off,” said Nacoma Oehme, FSCC Program Industry Coordinator.

SkillsUSA is a national organization that serves high school and college students who are preparing for careers in technical, skilled and service occupations. SkillsUSA programs include local, state and national competitions in which students demonstrate occupational and leadership skills.

For more information about carpentry, masonry or other occupational programs at Fort Scott Community College, please contact Judy Meister, FSCC Occupational Recruiter, at (620) 223-2700, ext. 5247.