Fort Scott Community College will honor local first responders during its football game on Saturday, October 15, at Frary Field in Fort Scott.
“We are grateful for everything these everyday heroes do to keep our community safe,” said Tom Havron, FSCC Director of Athletics. “FSCC is proud to recognize them during our First Responders Day.”
Emergency medical technicians, firefighters, police officers and other first responders will receive free admission to the game. In addition, several local first responders will serve as honorary captains of the football team for the evening.
The Fort Scott Community College Greyhounds will face the Dodge City Community College Conquistadors at 7 p.m. on October 15.
FSCC Rodeo to host the Dan VandeWynkel Alumni Rodeo
The Fort Scott Community College Rodeo Team will host the annual Dan VandeWynkel Alumni Rodeo 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 1, at the Arnold Arena, 2108 South Horton, Fort Scott.
During the rodeo, students will compete alongside FSCC alumni. Events will include bareback riding, barrel racing, breakaway roping, bull riding, calf roping, goat tying, saddle bronco riding, steer wrestling and team roping.
Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for FSCC students, $2 for children and $10 for families (two adults plus children). The team will also host an athlete auction at 6 p.m., where community members can bid on a few hours of labor from rodeo athletes.
All money raised will benefit rodeo student scholarships. For information, please call Chad Cross, FSCC Head Rodeo Coach, or Cali Griffin, FSCC Assistant Rodeo Coach, at 620-223-2700, ext. 7020.
After serving the city as the director of economic development for more than three years, Heather Smith completes her final days in Fort Scott this week as she prepares to move on to another job in Wisconsin.
“It’ll be really difficult to leave here, but I’m excited for the next step in my career,” Smith said during the most recent Chamber Coffee held Thursday, saying the collaboration among the city, chamber of commerce and the local businesses made her job and the recent accomplishments in Fort Scott possible.
Smith first worked at Peerless for six years and then at UMB Bank as a manager for two years before the position with the city opened in 2013. Believing her background in both manufacturing and finances would assist her, Smith said she jumped right in.
“It was a little bit overwhelming at first, but a big part of being able to make progress is just jumping in and talking to people and doing research,” Smith said, saying she was comfortable in her position within the first year.
Smith said the revitalization of downtown Fort Scott has especially been an enjoyment for her on the job, seeing investments made in that area that she said she believes will be transformational, bringing energy back into the area.
“One of the top priorities is business retention and expansion,” Smith said, adding she and the city focused on working with local employers and assisting them in their projects and meeting their needs can be met so they can continue to grow. “We try to be very business friendly.”
In her more than three years at her position, Smith has taken a part in projects such as the Lowell Milken Center, the Western Building project, the LaRoche Baseball Complex, Country Place Living, Sleep Inn, Casey’s General Store and a variety of other additions, expansions and improvements made around the city, adding up to millions of dollars in investments.
“That’s pretty impressive for a community our size,” Smith said, pointing out the top ten employers have also seen a net job growth of 18 percent while the county minimum wage has increased by 20 percent. “All of these are signs that Fort Scott is on a really good trajectory and recovering quite well from the 2012 recession. It’s a good place to be.”
Smith said she is sure that momentum will continue with the continued work of the city leaders, saying she has seen them make many wise and forward-thinking decisions such as by hiring an IT director and working closely with other entities such as the school district.
“Thank you so much for being such a progressive and visionary commission to work with,” Smith said to the Fort Scott City Commission during her last meeting with them Tuesday. “It’s not an easy thing to leave. I love this community. It’s been a very difficult decision.”
The commission said Smith will be missed and even stated she is welcome back if she should decide to return.
“We want to thank you for everything that you have done for Fort Scott,” Mayor JoLynne Mitchell said.
City Manager Dave Martin pointed out Smith is not just appreciated among the city staff, but is also liked and respected in the community.
Smith will move to Wisconsin, where she will work at the Chippewa Valley Technical College, managing a $5 million grant from the department of labor for workforce development in a consortium of technical colleges.
“I love Fort Scott,” Smith said, saying she had not necessarily been looking for another job when this one became available. “Fort Scott is home. I love this community. It’s like a family.”
Rachel Pruitt, who is from Fort Scott, will begin working as the new director of economic development on October 10, and said she is looking forward to filling a position that has such worthwhile results for the city, after working in corporate marketing and commuting away from her home for her previous job.
“[They’re] big shoes to fill,” Pruitt said, but added she is hoping to get up to speed quickly without losing any of the forward momentum Smith initiated.
Smith said she believes Pruitt has the capacity to continue the collaboration between the city and businesses in order to continue the progress already made in Fort Scott.
During their meeting Tuesday evening, the Fort Scott City Commission approved Fire Chief Paul Ballou’s request to put to bid improvements needing to be made at the Hawkins Public Safety Facility.
The building housing the fire and police departments as well as the dispatchers was built in 1993, and Ballou said few improvements have been made since that time.
“It just needs a refurb[ishment],” Ballou said. “Bring it back up to where it really looks nice.”
The project is to include tuck pointing of the mortar, repair and replacement of bad block – including the front sign, repainting and sealing around the bottom of the building and resealing or repair of the roof where it is needed. Ballou said water damage has lead to some of the need for repairs.
The entire project is expected to cost no more than $30,000, an amount already budgeted for in the capital improvements budget. Ballou said they have already approached contractors and others to look at the building for a price estimate.
While it is already later in the year, Ballou said they hope to put the project to bid quickly so work can begin before weather prevents it and so the building can provide better protection against the winter months.
Over the next few months, the Fort Scott Public Library will take on a different appearance as it goes through numerous interior renovations before opening again in February.
After saving federal funding since about 1992 as well as accepting a $100,000 gift from Cliff Gordon’s estate after his death, the local library decided the time was right for major renovations on their building after having gone about 50 years without such improvements, according to director Lisa Walther.
“It’s been much needed for a long time,” Walther said.
The total bid for the project is about $572,000, plus an approximate $10,000 for asbestos abatement. That price will include removing the carpet and redoing the floors, ceiling and walls as well as adding other improvements such as new light fixtures and the addition of a second restroom.
“We’re changing pretty much everything,” Walther said, saying all the books will be moved upstairs while the offices, computers and an adult meeting area will be available downstairs.
Since the project began on September 6, the library has changed its location temporarily to the lower level of Memorial Hall. Walther said about 10 percent of their current circulation is available there while the remainder is in storage at Landmark Bank.
While their space is limited, Walther said they have made available their newest books as well as those that are most popular. The library also continues to offer its storytime for young children not in school each Tuesday at 10 a.m., and computers are still available for the public’s use.
“I think it’s going to be very nice when it’s done,” Walther said of the library project, adding their appreciation to Landmark and the city of Fort Scott for providing assistance while they are away from their building.
The project is scheduled to be complete by February 3, with the addition of a few weeks to move the books back into the library before opening once again.