County Commission to rewrite vicious dog policy

During their meeting Tuesday, the Bourbon County Commission decided to look over the current vicious dog policy for the county and consider how they might update it.

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“It comes to the issue of what a vicious dog is,” county attorney Justin Meeks said, saying that term needs to be defined more specifically and not just by breed.

Meeks said the need for an update to the policy was brought up about a year ago and again more recently due to a current criminal case involving the policy.

The current policy was published in the 1980s and specifically states that “any vicious dog which has a tendency or propensity to attack or otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or domestic animals without provocation” would be prohibited in the county. The policy goes on to state that any pit bull dog would also be banned, and violators could be fined $100-$500.

“I never did think it was right to have a genocide on one specific breed,” Commissioner Harold Coleman said of prohibiting pit bulls in general. “It doesn’t sound fair to me.”

If specific breeds are banned, Meeks pointed out the difficulty involved with proving a dog is of that breed, which can include extensive testing. Instead, Meeks advised the commission define what is considered vicious actions that can be easily determined.

“You know it when you see it,” Meeks said of recognizing a vicious dog, saying that feature is not limited by the size or breed of a dog.

But at the same time, Meeks said several scenarios have to be considered. For example, what if a dog does harm to someone that was trespassing on its owner’s property? Or what if a dog attacked another dog or animal and not a human? Other issues include who would pay for the harboring or termination of a dog that is deemed vicious.

Currently, the Bourbon County Sheriff’s Department responds to dog bite calls and is responsible for the quarantine of the dog and filling out a report.

The commission plans to discuss updates to the policy Tuesday, December 6, at 11 a.m.

U.S. Cellular presents check to Care to Share

While hosting the weekly Chamber Coffee Thursday, U.S. Cellular representative and 103.9 FM radio personality Tim McKenney presented a gift of $450 to the Care to Share cancer support group from the cell phone store located on S. National Avenue.

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“We couldn’t think of anything that was more worthwhile than that,” McKenney said of the organization and their decision to give to them.

Throughout the year, the business has also given a donation of $25 to the Care to Share Sharing Bucket in the name of each week’s Fort Scott High School football player of the week.

Lavetta Simmons of Care to Share accepted the financial donation Thursday and expressed her appreciation to U.S. Cellular and other businesses and individuals that have supported the program.

“Our community has been so generous to Care to Share, the Sharing Bucket,” Simmons said. “So generous in giving so we can give to those in need.”

Care to Share provides support to members of the community impacted by cancer with financial or emotional support and even driving individuals to and from doctor appointments out of town.

“This is just another way of caring and sharing and we thank you all for doing it,” Simmons said of the U.S. Cellular gift and the player of the week donations, which she considers the future of their organization.

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FSCC Welcomes New Head Football Coach

Submitted by Fort Scott Community College

Fort Scott Community College welcomes Kale Pick as the new Head Football Coach. Pick completed his first season as the FSCC quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator this fall. He previously coached at the University of Kansas and Texas A&M University.

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Photo Credit: Fort Scott Community College. FSCC Head Football Coach Kale Pick poses with his wife, Geneva.

“We are excited to start a new era of Greyhound football with Coach Pick. I have been able to witness firsthand everything that he brings to our program, and I have been very impressed,” said Tom Havron, FSCC Director of Athletics. “He has earned a great deal of respect from his players, fellow coaches and me. The team is headed in a very good direction under Coach Pick’s leadership.”

As a Dodge City High School student, Pick was ranked the No. 7 dual-threat quarterback in the United States by Rivals for his running and passing abilities. He played both quarterback and wide receiver at the University of Kansas from 2008 to 2012 and started in 28 games. In 2011, he was No. 2 player in catches and receiving yards for the team. He received the Ironman Award in the 2011 off-season, which recognized him as the most dedicated player, as voted by his coaches and teammates. During his senior season in 2012, Pick led the Jayhawks in catches and receiving yards with 63 receptions for 752 yards and two touchdowns. He was also awarded the Gales Sayers Award in 2012 by the coaching staff, which recognizes the most competitive player of the season.

“Throughout my college football career, I played under three head coaches and five position coaches. I have also worked under two head coaches. This has been a blessing because it has given me the opportunity to learn about a variety of coaching styles, techniques and thought processes,” said Pick.

In 2013, Pick served as an offensive graduate assistant coach at the University of Kansas, where he worked with Ron Powlus and the quarterbacks and Rob Ianello and the wide receivers. In 2014 and 2015, Pick served as an offensive graduate assistant coach at Texas A&M University, working with offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital. He also coached the wide receivers during the Auto Zone Liberty Bowl, where he served as interim assistant coach.

“The Greyhound football team will have a strong focus on community and scholarship in addition to athletics. We want to give the community of Fort Scott a college football team that they can be proud of,” said Pick. “It’s our goal to develop the student-athletes into well-rounded individuals who will succeed on the field, in the classroom and in the community.”

When describing his coaching philosophy, Pick said, “We want to outwork and outsmart the other teams. We will work hard, but we will also have fun as a coaching staff and team.”

Pick graduated from the University of Kansas in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in communications.

FSCC recognizes national meats judging champions

Members of the community along with students and faculty of Fort Scott Community College attended a reception on campus Friday afternoon to recognize a meats judging team that recently won a national competition in Texas.

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“We couldn’t be more proud of this team and the accomplishments they’ve had,” FSCC President Alysia Johnston said, saying she recognizes the hard work and commitment needed in meats judging contests. “That kind of dedication truly is unusual.”

The team, which includes students Adam Lattin, Katie Thoden, Chad McKibben, Peyton Barrett and coach Jenilee Martin, placed first at the High Plains Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest on Oct. 30, in Friona, Texas. The team also brought home awards for accomplishments such as placing second in beef grading, second in lamb judging, first in pork judging, second in beef judging, first in total beef, first in total placings and second in the total questions division along with other individual awards.

“It was their time to complete the task at hand,” coach Martin said of their mindset going into the contest, after a season of contests that brought a level of disappointment when they finished in third, fourth and fifth positions at contests in Denver, Col., Fort Worth, Houston and Amarillo, Texas.

But despite struggling earlier in the season such as with the questions portion of the contests, Martin and the team continued to persevere, to the point of practicing every day. Team member Thoden said she even reached a point where she asked her team mates if they truly wanted to win a contest, since it felt like they did not.

“By golly, we did it,” Thoden said of their win as their hard work finally paid off.

Martin expressed gratitude to the students for the memories she has of participating in the season’s contests as well as thanked the faculty for working with the students while they spent time away from their classes.

“I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Martin said, saying she was especially proud that two of the students were named All-American winners, which takes into account at their success at the contests as well as in the classroom.

FSCC Men’s Rodeo Team Earns First Place at NWOSU

Submitted by Fort Scott Community College

The Fort Scott Community College Rodeo Team finished their fall season on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Northwestern Oklahoma State University (NWOSU) with the men’s team placing first and the women’s team placing sixth.

Photo Credit: Fort Scott Community College. Pictured is the FSCC Rodeo Team.
Photo Credit: Fort Scott Community College. Pictured is the FSCC Rodeo Team.

Several FSCC student-athletes delivered exceptional performances at NWOSU. Sophomore Wyatt Miller, from Lone Jack, Mo., placed first in calf roping, second in team roping and first all-around. Freshman Trey Ahring, from Garnett, Kan., placed first in bull riding. Baylee Oney, sophomore from Archie, Mo., placed fourth in barrel racing. Caitlyn Wiswell, sophomore from Spring Hill, Kan., placed fourth in breakaway roping. Sophomore Russell Redden, from Maryville, Mo., placed fourth in bareback riding. Mat Swaim, freshman from Altoona, Iowa, placed fourth in saddle bronc riding.

“I’ve been very impressed with the student-athletes’ work ethic and desire to win. Everyone acts as a team. A few leaders have stepped up and expected more from everyone,” said Chad Cross, FSCC Head Rodeo Coach. “I’m very happy with the team’s performances this fall, especially in the last two rodeos.”

The FSCC Men’s Rodeo Team is currently ranked No. 3 and the FSCC Women’s Rodeo Team is ranked No. 7 in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) Central Plains Region. Many FSCC students are ranked in the top six of their divisions for the region. Wyatt Miller is ranked No. 1 in the men’s all-around division, No. 1 in tie-down roping and No. 1 in the team roping heeler division. Sophomore Cory Brown from Russellville, Ar., is ranked No. 3 in bareback riding. Russell Redden is ranked No. 4 in bareback riding. Trey Ahring is ranked No. 5 in bull riding. Tate Sly, freshman from Salina, Kan., is ranked No. 6 in bull riding.

The team will compete in its first spring rodeo February 17 – 19, in Manhattan, Kan.

“I’m excited about the spring season because the students never stop working,” said Cross. “While others may be taking a break, our student-athletes are working hard to achieve their goals. I think their dedication will pay off in the spring.”

For more information, please contact Chad Cross at 620-223-2700, ext. 7020 or visit fsgreyhounds.com.

Photo Credit: Fort Scott Community College. Pictured from left to right are the student-athletes who placed in the top 6 of their division in the short round at NWOSU: Mat Swaim, Wyatt Miller, Baylee Oney, Caitlyn Wiswell, Russell Redden and Trey Ahring.
Photo Credit: Fort Scott Community College. Pictured from left to right are the student-athletes who placed in the top 6 of their division in the short round at NWOSU: Mat Swaim, Wyatt Miller, Baylee Oney, Caitlyn Wiswell, Russell Redden and Trey Ahring.

County Commission discusses property appraisals

Local engineer Greg Schick approached the Bourbon County Commission Thursday morning to ask about the process of property appraisals and point out his experience of appraisals that do not seem to match the true value of that property.

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“I think there’s a blatant problem in the county,” Schick said, giving examples of a 100-acre piece of property with just $130 in property taxes, while a home he purchased for $5,200 was later appraised at $25,000. “There’s a big disparity.”

County appraiser Clint Anderson said his office is always looking for ways to improve their assessments and that improvements have been made. The state looks at appraisals to make sure they are within 10 percent of what the property is sold for. Anderson said in recent years Bourbon County has been around the 97 percentile, and in the past year was right at 100 percent in that comparison.

But while the total appraisals seem to be right on the proper value, Anderson said that ratio can be skewed by higher-valued properties being appraised lower than their worth, while lower-valued properties are appraised too high.

Anderson said properly appraising those lower-valued properties is a specific goal for him in the upcoming year, but said that can be difficult since, when appraising any structure, they can only make an estimate based on the exterior. Anderson said sometimes they come across a home that may look well-kept on the outside, but then sells for a lower price because the inside may be gutted, and vice versa.

Property is assessed much differently, according to Anderson, with the appraisal not just coming from the size or location of the land, but from its production. That production can include crops, timber, irrigation or just natural grass. Acreage used solely for hunting often leads to much lower property taxes because there is not a measurable production.

“We have no ability whatsoever to change those values,” Anderson said of such properties, saying the state constitution defines it. “We say what it is and they tell us how much.”

But for those appraisals determined locally, Anderson said they are making a conscious effort to make them as accurate as possible to prevent property taxes from being any higher than necessary for Bourbon County residents.

Middle School to host annual Fall Extravaganza

In preparation for the coming Christmas season, the Fort Scott Middle School will host their annual VIP Fall Extravaganza Monday evening, providing an opportunity for the community to shop from a variety of vendors while helping raise funds for the middle school.

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Fall Extravaganza 2015

“It’s a family event,” organizer Stephanie George said of the extravaganza, which will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. and will include childcare provided by the Fort Scott Community College volleyball team.

In the USD 234 Board of Education meeting held Monday evening, George said the event is full of vendors, with 57 signed up, and she even had to turn some away because there is no more space. George added the event has spread from just local vendors to include others from Nevada and Junction City, for example.

“Now I just need lots of shoppers to come,” George said.

Some of the participating vendors include Pampered Chef, LuLaRoe Clothing, Thirty-One Gifts, Tourtillott Creations, Scentsy, Miller Feed & Farm, Gold Canyon, Briggs of Fort Scott, Care to Share and a number of other vendors selling clothes, food items, crafts and other goods.

Many vendors will also be holding raffles to give items away, with tickets costing $0.25 each. Briggs of Fort Scott also donated $150 that will be given away as two $75 prizes to employees of the school district who enter into the drawing at the extravaganza.