All posts by Loretta George

Johnson’s Provide Winter Wonderland For The Community


Rudolph is played by Tommy Johnson and Santa is played by Shannon Johnson. Courtesy photos.

The lights from a local family’s Christmas display just might be able to be seen from space. The yard is loaded with lights and displays to entertain the community, and Santa will be there Dec. 8 for those who want a photo opportunity.

The home of Shannon and Tommy Johnson at 753 S. Clark has been transformed into a winter wonderland since 2009.

“Every year we just grow more,” Shannon said.  “We offer pictures with Santa and also do a huge Halloween display with a haunted house.”

The Johnson home is located east of Hwy. 69. Go east on Third Street, then turn south on Clark.

“We light up every night from 5 p.m. to 9:30 or 10.00 p.m.” Shannon said.

“It roughly takes two weeks to do (the decorating) inside and out,” Shannon said. “We will have them lit until around Jan 3rd or so.”

A free will donation will be accepted to help with costs and lighting for upcoming years, Shannon said.

“We also will have Santa here on the December 8th for picture taking, Shannon said. “Popcorn cookies will be served and  people can walk through the winter wonderland.”

  “We enjoy doing it for the community,” Shannon said.

The Johnson’s also decorated their home for Halloween and had over 1,000 visitors, Shannon said.

Finding Answers

Carla Nemecek Southwind Extension District Director & Agent 620-365-2242 1 North Washington, Iola, KS 66749

Kansas State University provides you with research-based information through many avenues. Locally, your contact is the Southwind Extension District in Erie, Ft. Scott, Yates Center and Iola. Hundreds of publications and fact sheets, written by K-State researchers and specialists, are available through the university’s Publications Library,  Another alternative is to research the information provided on the Southwind website,


However, not all of our services can be found on the internet. One of the most utilized resources is soil testing. K-State Research & Extension can test soil for $12 per sample or $10 apiece for two or more. Soil testing is recommended for gardeners, farmers, testing for lawn & turf problems, or pasture management. Feed and forage testing is also offered. The only way to know for certain the quality of the feed is to get a lab analysis of it, to take a forage test. A forage test may run from $12-24 per sample, depending on what you want the sample tested for. Other tests that are available include Radon Test Kits ($6) and Water Quality Testing resources.


Have you ever wondered what that unidentified pest or plant lurking around your home may be, or even how you can get rid of it? The Extension Office has expertise and resources available to identify pests that are common to our area and in Kansas. This includes home and crop insects, weeds, and various plants. We can also provide information on how to remove or control the pest, depending on your situation.


One of our “best kept secret” products that we offer for sale are odor neutralizers.  Ecosorb ($28) is used in numerous homes, farm and industrial/commercial applications. Most of our clients seek this product to control the odor from fuel spills, mold smell, or skunk sprays.  Neutroleum Alpha ($35) is a concentrated product utilized in a similar fashion to control strong odors. Because it is a concentrate, it can be used in a larger area.


This time of the year, we sell quite a few Farm and Family Account Books ($4.50 – $8.50). If you haven’t made the transition to computerized record keeping, this resource allows for an accurate accounting of your finances in a form that makes completing taxes easier.


Extension publications are very accessible to the public, and most are free if you pick them up in the Extension Office. The Kansas Garden Guide is a new publication that is available for only $6. If you are looking for resources on planning a garden, seeding & planting, or details about a specific crop, this publication is a must-have.  Extension offers many, many publications on home gardening so please stop by if you are looking for something specific.


Area farmers and ranchers often utilize the Kansas Performance Tests for various crops to determine which varieties will grow best in this area of the state. Next month, the 2018 Hybrid Reports for Corn, Soybeans, and Grain Sorghum will become available in the Extension Office. This is in addition to the Wheat Seed Book that is always available in late summer after wheat has been harvested and data collected.


The 2019 Chemical Weed Control Guide will be published in January and provides suggestions for chemical weed control in several major crops. It offers recommendations, and guidelines for crop specific chemicals.


If you are involved in a club or organization that requests presentations, the Southwind District offers a “Speakers Bureau” brochure, which contains the public speaking topics offered by the Extension Agents. Let us help you with your educational topics during your meetings. We try to mail this to civic and social organizations on an annual basis, but you are also welcome to pick up a copy in any of our three offices.


As a consumer, you have many options for finding the answers to your questions. By choosing to use the Extension Service, you can be sure you are getting research-based, unbiased information. We encourage you to use the Southwind Extension District Offices in Erie, Ft. Scott, Yates Center and Iola to help answer your questions. Or you can find us on the web,

Southwind District – Kansas State University

Your local Extension Office is a tremendous resource for finding the information you need. With offices located in Erie, Fort Scott, Iola, and Yates Center, KS, we are here to help answer your questions about Lawn & Gardens, 4-H & Youth Development, Crops & Livestock, and Health & Nutrition.. Have a specific horticulture problem?


The LaRoche Buildings Restoration Begins

Mid-Continental Restoration Inc. employees work on the exterior of the LaRoche buildings, formerly the old Tribune buildings on Wall Street at National Avenue, on Nov. 7. From left on the ground is Pat Shelton, equipment maintenance with MCR and Chris Fountain, foreman.

Work began on two historic side-by-side downtown buildings owned by Jennifer LaRoche on Nov. 5.

Stones on the facade of the buildings on Wall Street at National Avenue are being removed and examined to get structural issues repaired, according to Pat Shelton, Mid-Contenintal Restoration Inc., Fort Scott.

“We are doing restoration on the north side of the exterior,” Chase Halsey,  MCR  project manager, said. “We are taking down the stone, then rebuilding the wall and relaying the existing stones if they are in good shape.”

Some of the stones on the century-old buildings are missing or have deteriorated, he said.

“I don’t know the exact date the building was built, over one-hundred years ago, I would guess,” Halsey said.

Beau Casper is shoring up the roof trusses,  Halsey said. Casper is a separately contracted with LaRoche, he said.

“That is so that when we reattach the stone veneer, it will be more stable than right now,” he said.

New stones will be made by Phoenix Marble Stone, Springfield, Mo., Halsey said.

“We are going to try to have it done by the end of the year,” Halsey said. “We are at the mercy of when the new stones are on site….and we are at the mercy of the weather as well.”

“The snow on the scaffolding makes us unable to work,” he said.

No interior work is being done at this time, Halsey said.



Improvements On Main Street

Construction crews have the east side of North Main Street blocked off this week for installing new roofs.

Triad Construction Co., K.C., MO is working on the roofs of three properties owned by Jerry Witt.

Kenny Felt Photography, 13 N. Main; Here We Go Again Upholstery, 15 N. Main and Country Girl Cuts, 19 N. Main are the businesses receiving new roofs.

9 N. Main Street is boarded up with interior construction going on.

In addition, the Witt residence at 9 N. Main, is being remodeled.

Boards have been placed over the front windows of this property, while West and Karleskint Construction, Fort Scott, work on the interior of the residence.

“We’ve put new windows on the back (which faces Skubitz Plaza), new arch windows, back down to the design of the original brick,” Witt said.

The back side of the Witt property, 9 N. Main, faces Fort Scott National Historic Site and Skubitz Plaza.

When completed the Witt residence will have a two bedroom, 2.5 bathroom home with an office on the North Main side, he said.


There is no timeline for completion of the  residence project, Witt said, he anticipates the roofing project will be completed in the next few days..

Bad Art Good People Auction Tonight

Bourbon County Arts Council members Deb Halsey and Elaine Buerge welcomed guests of the Chamber coffee Nov. 15.

The Bad Art by Good People 2018 Art Exhibition was the feature of the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce weekly coffee Nov. 15 at the Ellis Center.

Deb Halsey, board member of the Bourbon County Arts Council told guests the auction is this evening (Nov. 15)at 7p.m. at the Ellis Center located on the campus of Fort Scott Community College. Marty Read will be the auctioneer.

“This is the fifth year of Bad Art by Good People,” Halsey said. “It’s our number-one fundraiser. Ninety-seven people have painted for us over the years and let us auction it off.”

Chamber members look over the artwork Thursday morning.

This year’s artists are Laura Agee, Karen Billiard, Susan Carillo, Rhonda Dunn, Bob Eckles, Lucy Gladbach, Kristin Gorman, Emily Hinkle, Jody Hoener, Rebekah Houses, Linda Jackson, Casey Lewis, Laura Meeks, Susan Messer, Bryan Ritter, Addi Smith, and Clyde Wendel.

“There is a great variety of artwork,” Halsey said.

The exhibit is open for viewing at 7 p.m. this evening for voting on a favorite piece of work.  Appetizers are served.

At 7:30 p.m. the auction starts.

Kale Nelson looks at the artwork at Ellis Center.

Some of the activities of the BCAC are providing scholarships for students pursuing art, Project Art at Fort Scott Middle School, the Gordon Parks Poetry Contest, musical concerts for the community and schools, Art Walks, and a summer patio concert series at Crooner’s Lounge.

“Come out and vote on your favorite piece of art and help us to continue to promote the arts in our community,” Halsey said.

Betty Boyko drinks coffee while looking over the artwork.

Bourbon County Arts Council Members are Deb Anderson, Tedene Tucker, Dan Magee, Ray Streets, Terri Floyd, Steve Floyd, Elaine Buerge, Rob Shaw, Laura Meeks, Breann Martin, Chris Woods, and Halsey.



New Kitchen At Nate’s Place

The entrance to Nate’s Place is at the rear of the mansion at 8th Street and National Avenue.

From September 30 to October 12, Nate’s Place Resturant, closed down to do some updating in its kitchen.

The restaurant is located at 8th Street and National Avenue, in the southern mansion of what is known as Lyons Twin Mansions.

What initiated the update was a $5,000 grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Pathways to a Healthy Kansas initiative.

“With that grant, we added a new commercial freezer, a refrigerator, a warming table, new linen and silverware,” Shawn O’Brien, manager of the restaurant, said.

The new prep table at Nate’s Place, utilized by chef staff Daniel Barnett and Chip McElmurry in this photo.
The new fridge at Nate’s Place as seen through the pass-through.

“Nate and Bailey (Lyons, owners of the restaurant) invested in a new tile floor in the kitchen, new paint, took out old cabinets and invested in new prep tables,”  O’Brien said.

The bathroom of the restaurant was also renovated, he said.

“It was an exciting two weeks,” O’Brien said.

At that time the Lyons hired restaurant consultants to help with efficiency in the restaurant, he said.

During this time also the evening menu changed, adding two new entrees.

Following are the newly updated menus for the different shifts.

The menu’s also got a new look during the updating of the restaurant.


During this time the evening menu changed, adding two new entrees: house salad with chicken and a pasta alfredo.


Formation of Safe Families Organization Nov. 13

There will  be an informational meeting, to form a new helping organization starting in Bourbon County, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13 at the Senior Citizens Center site, 26 N. Main.

Allen Schellack, Compassionate Care Pastor with the Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene and director of the Fort Scott Compassionate Ministries Outreach Center, is coordinating the event.

The outreach center is located above the Senior Citizens Center at 26 N. Main.

Schellack can be reached at 620-223-2212.

Bourbon County Senior Citizens Center, 26 N. Main.

“Tina Westbay, SE Kansas Coordinator for Safe Families will be leading the meeting and answering questions,” Schellack said. “This is the grassroots meeting for Bourbon County and we hope to recruit families, churches, and the general public.”

“Our goal is to provide ‘a circle of support for families’,” Schellack said. ” Safe Families is working with CarePortal and is launching in five southeast Kansas counties, Topeka and Kansas City metro area.”

“This started in Chicago approximately 15 years ago and is in 30 states of the US, the UK, and Canada, and has proven beneficial in providing families with children with support services before they get to a point where legal interaction is needed,” he said.

Allen Schellack

Training will be provided at a later time depending on interest, he said.

USD 234 Dismisses Early Because of Winter Storm

USD 234 will dismiss early today.

All schools will follow the early release schedule.

There will be no after-school child care and no afternoon preschool.

All evening activities will be canceled.
Winfield Scott Elementary School will dismiss at 1:06 pm.

Eugene Ware Elementary School will dismiss at  1:01 pm.

Fort Scott Middle School will dismiss at  1:11 pm.

Fort Scott High School will dismiss at  1:11


Safeguard Antibiotics

State of Kansas Asks Residents to Help Safeguard Antibiotics

Kansas ranked among the highest nationally, total number of antibiotic prescriptions


TOPEKA – Since 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recognized a threat to antibiotic resistance and has begun working with many partners across the state and nation to safeguard the effectiveness of antibiotics. In an effort to promote awareness of this important initiative, Governor Jeff Colyer has designated Nov. 12-18 Use Antibiotics Wisely Week.


Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Chief Health Officer, Dr. Greg Lakin, says health professionals, patients and their loved ones need to be informed and only prescribe or use antibiotics when appropriate.


“The general public, health care providers, health care facility administrators, veterinarians, food producers and policy makers can all play a part in ensuring that antibiotics are only used when truly needed and likely to be effective,” Dr. Lakin said.


In Kansas, a broad range of individuals, professionals and organizations are working together to adopt best practices to help stem the inappropriate use of antibiotics. A statewide advisory group is assisting KDHE in spearheading this effort.


According to data from the CDC, the total number of antibiotic prescriptions written in Kansas ranked among the highest nationally. In 2015, more than 900 antibiotic prescriptions were written per 1,000 individuals statewide.


Antibiotic awareness does not mean stopping the use of antibiotics; it means changing the way antibiotics are prescribed and used today—when necessary and appropriate.


Since the 1940s, antibiotics have been used to treat patients who have bacterial infections, greatly reducing the number of related illnesses and deaths. But now, more than 75 years later, antibiotics have been overused and misused to the point that the infectious organisms the antibiotics are designed to kill have adapted to them, making the drugs less effective, according to the CDC.


The CDC finds that more than one-third of all antibiotics prescribed or otherwise used in the United States are either unnecessary or the antibiotic does not match the germ. Antibiotics are not needed for viruses, such as colds, most sore throats and many sinus infections.


Especially during the cold and flu season when viruses are prevalent, the public can do its part by recognizing that antibiotics are likely not the right medicine. Antibiotics can fight infections and save lives when used to fight the right germ, at the right time and for the right duration.


More than two million people in the United States get infections that are resistant to antibiotics, and each year, at least 23,000 people die as a result. If drug-resistant germs keep growing, and if we lose the effectiveness of antibiotics, we may also lose our ability to treat patients who need them.


Here are ways you can help:

  • Do not request that your doctor prescribe antibiotics.
  • Antibiotics may have side effects. When your doctor says that you do not need an antibiotic, taking one may do more harm than good.
  • Only take antibiotics that are prescribed for you and take the whole course as directed. Do not share or use leftover antibiotics. Antibiotics treat specific types of infections. Taking the wrong medicine may delay correct treatment and allow bacteria to multiply.


To learn more about antibiotic resistance, visit







Grants Awarded For Community Improvement Endeavors

USD 234 First Grade teachers were awarded a grant to allow students a chance to visit and learn about Fort Scott businesses. They are holding a photo-opportunity check which lists the amount handed out at the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation Grant Awards on Nov. 1. Stephanie Witt, president of the FSACF is far right in the photo.

The Fort Scott Area Community Foundation presented grant awards to 15 entities November 1 during the Chamber of Commerce weekly coffee, held at Landmark Bank.

Interest from money given the FSACF is distributed each year to 501 3C organizations, said Stephanie Witt, president of the foundation.

“This year, over $32,000 in grants is given out,” she told coffee attendees.

USD 234 received a grant for project-based learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math programs that challenge middle and high school students to create and design elements to help the community. Angie Kemmerer, far left, heads the project.
Fort Scott High School’s tennis program will get a new backboard for the tennis courts with a grant from FSACF. Allison Gorman accepted the check.
USD 234 was awarded a grant for career exploration mentoring for students paired with community members. Lindsay Madison, left, accepted the grant award.
Eastern Kansas Adult Education at Fort Scott Community College was awarded a grant to provide scholarships for 20 high school dropouts to obtain their GED. Aubrey Duft, left, accepted the award.
USD 234 was awarded a grant to study empathy and share their findings with the community. Michelle Brittain accepted the from Witt and Greg Motley, a FSACF member.
Another USD 234 grant provided money for new Fort Scott High School band instruments. Aaron Shockley accepted the check.
Tri-Valley Developmental Services received a grant to purchase two new wheelchairs.
Care to Share received a grant to support cancer victims. Teresa Davenport, left, accepted the award.
The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes received a grant for interactive magnetic boards to educate children who visit the center. From left Norm Conard, Witt, Tina Rockhold and Motley.
Chad Cross accepted the Fort Scott Community College grant to make the Arnold Arena compliant with the American Disability Act regulations.
Christa Horn accepts a check for the Bourbon County CASA of the 6th Judicial Court.
Peggy Niles accepts a check for the Pioneer Harvest Fiesta, Inc. to allow repairs and upgrades at the Bourbon County Fairgrounds.
Fort Scott Convention and Visitors Bureau received a grant to provide a veteran’s celebration. Larry Gazaway and Allyson Turvey accepted the check.
Janet Tucker accepted a check for the “It’s My Very Own Bags of Love” project made available by the KS-NE Conference of Seventh Day Adventists.


Veteran’s Day Celebrations Nov. 9-12

Banners of local veterans line Main Street in downtown Fort Scott. Call the Fort Scott Visitors and Convention Office at  620.670.2750 for more information.

Veterans Day festivities take place November 9-12, throughout the county. All veterans are invited.

Area schools have been providing Veteran’s Day Assemblies to honor those who have served their county for several years, and continue in 2018.

On Friday, November 9 at 9 a.m. Winfield Scott Elementary School will have a Veteran’s Day Program in the gym.

Fort Scott Middle and High School students will have their program in the high school gym from 1:45 to 2:30 p.m. the same day. Guest speaker is Nick Trim, an Air Force Veteran.

St. Mary’s Catholic School will have a Veteran’s Day program at 1 p.m. on Nov. 9 at the Veteran’s Memorial on Skubitz Plaza in front of Fort Scott National Historic Site, weather permitting.

A new Bourbon County School, St. Martin’s Academy, will present a public faculty lecture on Friday, November 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Boiler Room Brewhaus, located at National and Wall Street.
Patrick Whelan, the headmaster at the boy’s Catholic school, will be giving the lecture, entitled  Warfare in Epic Poetry. Whelan is a Marine veteran and still serves as an officer in the Marine Reserves in addition to pursuing a Ph.D. in combat trauma in literature.
The presentation event starts with a mixer /cocktail hour at 7:30 p.m.  Whelan will speak at 8:30 p.m. and allow time for questions.

On Monday, November 12, Eugene Ware Elementary School will have a vet’s program at 9 a.m. in the gym, while USD 235 will also have their program at 9 a.m. in the high school gym on Nov. 12.

Fort Scott Community College is offering free haircuts to veterans Nov. 9-12. The haircuts are provided by the cosmetology department. Call this number for an appointment: 620-223-2700 Ext. 5220.

The First Annual Veteran’s Day Celebration spearheaded by the Fort Scott Convention and Visitors Bureau includes the following, taken from its’ website:

Friday, November 9th

5 pm – 8 pm: Opening Reception “In Honor of Company ‘G’” @ Boiler Room Brewhaus, presented by Peerless Products. Finger foods and your first drink of the evening are free. All veterans that register will also receive a free goody bag with a special gift and information.

Saturday, November 10th

10 am: Special Veterans Day Program @ Fort Scott’s Memorial Hall – speakers include 12th District Kansas Senator Caryn Tyson, Gold Star Mother Jennifer Jackman, Carl Jowers of Thomas-Harkey Post 25 American Legion, and Commander of the American Legion Department of Kansas Dan Wiley. Special music will be provided by the Fort Scott High School Orchestra.

Noon – 4 pm: Hospitality Room @ VFW Post 1165 Olson-Frary-Burkhart

2 pm: Performance of “Bright Star” @ Fort Scott High School. Adults $7  Kids $5. Veterans will be recognized during the performance.

5 pm: Live Local Bourbon County presents the Veterans Day Parade through Downtown Fort Scott. TFO will provide trailers and rides for all veterans who can not, or do not want to, walk the parade route. Live Local BB will be serving up a hot dog meal beginning at 3:30 pm at the pavilion downtown! The staging area is located at Fort Scott High School, 1005 S. Main, Fort Scott, KS.

Fort Scott City Clerk Diane Clay decorates the exterior of city hall, 123 S. Main on Wednesday afternoon in preparation for the Veteran’s Day Celebrations this weekend.

7 pm: 1800’s Remembrance Grand Ball @ Fort Scott’s Memorial Hall, presented by The “Friends” of Fort Scott National Historic Site.

Sunday, November 11th

9 am: Church Services @ Community Christian Church, 1919 S. Horton

11 am: Services @ US National Cemetery #1 with 12th District Kansas Senator Caryn Tyson. Organized by VFW Post 1165 Olson-Frary-Burkhart

Noon: Lunch @ VFW Post 1165 Olson-Frary-Burkhart for Free Will Donation.

While in Fort Scott for the Veterans Day Celebration, don’t forget to purchase your “Buddy” Poppy and “Wear it proudly.”