Western Senior Living prepares for residents

The new Western Senior Living center located in the old Western Insurance building held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and gave tours Tuesday afternoon, but continues to complete finishing touches before welcoming residents after their true Grand Opening on December 30.


“Today is about the salvation of the Western Building,” said Tony Krsnich, president and CEO of the Flint Hills Holding Group.

Built in 1929, the old downtown building was in danger of being torn down after flooding damage and health hazards made it inhabitable. But when the Flint Hills Holding Group stepped in, their cooperation with the city of Fort Scott prevented the demolition of the Western building, which itself would have cost millions of dollars.

“It was really clear the potential this building had to impact the downtown,” said Fred Bentley, the director of rental housing allocation in Kansas, who said he was impressed with Fort Scott as a location as well as a partner in the endeavor.

Purchased in 2014 with demolition and construction occurring in the past year, the building is nearing the completion of its 35, one- and two-bedroom apartments available for lease by residents 55 years and older. With a focus on the community of the residents, Krsnich said they included amenities such as a large community room, indoor putting green, paintings and other options.

Patrick Michaelis, business development officer for the central region of the Midwest Housing Equity Group, said the goal of his company has always been to make lives better by providing affordable housing. Already, seven of the 35 units have been reserved for new residents, something Krsnich said he has never seen on a project before its completion.

“The community stepped up to the plate on this and it shows,” Krsnich said. “This is an iconic building that has now been restored.”

While touch-ups such as painting and caulking remain, two units that are completed were available for those interested in tours.

Fort Scott welcomes Christmas season with parade

Despite temperatures near freezing, a crowd of residents and visitors lined Main Street in downtown Fort Scott to watch the annual Christmas parade, this year with the theme of Holidays on the Big Screen.


Groups including churches, fire departments, school organizations and businesses such as Velocity Tactics, Family Dental, Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes, 4-State Sanitation and others participated with floats representing Christmas movies such as Christmas Vacation, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas and Frosty the Snowman.

Prizes were awarded to Fresenius Kidney Care, Fort Scott Community College and Parkway Church for the creativity of their floats. Gifts donated by Walmart, Walgreens and the Electronic Store were also awarded to children.

Santa Claus made an appearance to help light the mayor’s Christmas tree and to take photos with children present. High school student Mayson Lane was the grand marshal of the parade in honor of his upcoming trip to New York in February to play violin at Carnegie Hall.

“What a wonderful time of year,” Mayor JoLynne Mitchell said, adding Christmas is a time of hope and remembrance of Jesus’ birth as well as reflecting on blessings and accomplishments throughout the year. “What a great year we’ve had in the city of Fort Scott.”


FSCC hosts Christmas Workshop to kick off holiday season

With Christmas just a few weeks away, faculty and students of Fort Scott Community College hosted a workshop Saturday, inviting families to participate in a number of various holiday activities.


Attendees were given breakfast as well as the opportunity to play games, do crafts, sing Christmas songs and write a wish list for Santa Claus before meeting him. Children and families of the community came steadily throughout the morning.

Volunteers for the event included a number of FSCC ambassadors, spirit squad, softball players and cosmetology students.

Residential plat approved by county, AED purchase discussed

Eight new homes are expected to be added in the county after a plat for a new residential area near 235th Street and Jayhawk Road and the current Marco Estates was approved by the Bourbon County Commission Thursday morning.


Glen Pearson submitted the plat for the Pearson Addition, which includes eight lots of about three acres each where homes are planned to be constructed. One of those lots has already been requested by a future homeowner.

Register of deeds Lora Holdridge said the paperwork for the plat will likely be completed by the end of the year or early 2017. Because the area is within three miles of Fort Scott city limits, the plat had to be approved by both the county and the city.

During Thursday’s meeting, Sheriff Bill Martin also asked the county commission if the courthouse has an automated external defibrillator (AED) on hand in case of emergency. While the jail has one, the commissioners discovered the courthouse itself does not have such a device, and may need one as the jail moves location in the future.

“They’re good to have,” commission chairperson Barbara Albright said. “They can save lives.”

Research revealed that the purchase of an AED had been turned down by county commissioners in the past for fear of misuse and liability. Martin said that may have been because the devices were still only recently put to use.

The commission said they would consider looking into getting an AED, which could cost about $2,000. Grants may be available to offset or even cover the entire cost. The commission plans to bring the county emergency management director and the health department into the discussion as well.

Albright and Martin both pointed out training with the device for all county employees would be helpful, though Martin added there is a good faith clause in a state statute that prevents a person using the device from being held liable.

Celebrate the season with the 35th Annual Candlelight Tour at Fort Scott NHS

Submitted by Fort Scott National Historic Site

This holiday season, Fort Scott National Historic Site invites you to celebrate with your family and friends by visiting the site for its 35th Annual Candlelight Tour. The light of over 700 candle lanterns will provide the backdrop for an enchanting evening as reenactors in period clothing bring to life scenes of celebration from Fort Scott’s past.


In the first scene on the tour, cowboys from Texas are celebrating the end of the first cattle drive to Fort Scott in 1866. They find themselves opposed by Kansans who are concerned about “Texas fever” spreading to their cattle and by those who are unwilling to forgive Texas secessionists who opposed Kansas in the Civil War.

The second scene, set in 1848, will have stories of soldiers who have safely returned from the Mexican American War and are now excited about stories of gold in California.

In January 1861, Kansas became the 34th state; at the same time, the Union was collapsing as many states were seceding. A celebration of Kansas statehood and discussion of the impending crisis will be the topic of the third scene on the tour.

In scene four, residents of Fort Scott will be discussing the growth of the town of Fort Scott in January 1858. Featured stories will include a ball held to celebrate the new management of the Free State Hotel and the establishment of a newspaper and a railroad.

In the final scene of the tour, veterans of the Sixth Kansas Cavalry will be reuniting with their former comrades in 1916, more than fifty years after the Civil War ended. As the National Park Service was established in 1916, this scene is being offered in commemoration of the NPS centennial as is the theme of celebration for this year’s tour.

The tours will be offered December 2 and 3. Tours on December 2 will begin at 6:30 p.m. and go every 15 minutes until 9 p.m. On Saturday, December 3, the tours will run from 5 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Tickets are now on sale. Reservations and advanced purchase of tickets is required. Visitors can pick up tickets at the site’s visitor center or reserve them by calling (620) 223-0310. Payments can be made via cash or charge (DISCOVER, MasterCard, Visa). Tickets are $8.00 for adults; children five and under are free. Tickets are nonrefundable. The tour is filling up, so reserve your tickets soon.

Western National Parks Association, which operates the site’s bookstore, sponsors the tour. Proceeds generated cover the cost of conducting the tour.

From November 1-March 31, Fort Scott National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service, will be open for its winter hours of operation from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. For more information about the candlelight tour or other events at the site, call 620-223- 0310 or visit our website at www.nps.gov/fosc.