All posts by Loretta George

New Employee Profile: Uniontown Post Office

Remick Paulsen, Uniontown Post Office Clerk, 2018

Remick Paulsen, 22, is the new U.S. Postal Service Clerk at Uniontown.

This is an employee profile to let the community better know her.

Experience: First job in the postal service

Education: Graduated from Paola High School in 2014, Fort Scott Community College in 2016 and earned a bachelor of science degree in agricultural business from Kansas State University in 2018.

Why did you choose this as your career?

“I enjoy working with people. I feel like you get the small town feel working in a post office, and it’s a career.

Paulsen also works in the Fort Scott Post Office as needed.

The Uniontown Post Office is located at 106 2nd Street.

Hours of the office are 7 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday, 7 to 9 a.m. The phone number is 620-756-4377.

The Uniontown mail delivery includes Uniontown, Mapleton, and Redfield, she said.

Karen Saker, the longtime Uniontown Postmistress, retired at the end of August 2018.

 

 

New Employee Profile: Fort Scott Community Development Director

Robert Uhler became the City of Fort Scott Community Development Director Sept. 10.

This is an employee profile to allow the community to know him better.

Age: 49

Family: Married to Laurie Uhler, two grown children, one granddaughter.

What will be your duties in this position?

“Community Development is all about creating a positive quality of life in our community. Everything from infrastructure to parks, sidewalks, trails, to the historic downtown structures/district. I will also be participating in the zoning process and procedures. Housing is one of the very important issues that we need to deal with as a community.”

Experience:

“Over 20 years in the construction building industry, spending the last eight years as the executive vice-president of a non-profit serving independently owned building material suppliers.”

Education:

Baker University, US Chamber Foundation – Institute of Organizational Management, Certified Association Executive, Univ. Texas – Arlington, Specialist in Safety and Health.

Community involvement:

Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Board Member, Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene Treasurer, Project 17  – (17 SE KS Counties) Board Member, US Chamber Foundation Northeast Regent Member.

Hobbies: Golfing, outdoor sports, music – playing drums.

 

“I just love this community and anything that I can do to help our community grow, and prosper, I’m excited about doing.”

 

Robert Uhler: Fort Scott’s New Community Development Director

Robert Uhler Community Development Director. Submitted photo.

A shifting in personnel and a new face have been added to the City of Fort Scott.

Robert Uhler has been hired as Community Development Director.

Uhler will be helping with housing development, grant writing and representing the city in Topeka and Washington D.C. with elected officials, City Manager Dave Martin said in an interview.

Dave Martin. Submitted photo.

“Robert will be bringing outside money in to help us accomplish what’s needed in the community,” Martin said.

According to the city’s minutes dated Sept. 4, 2018, Rhonda Dunn will move from Community Development Director to Finance Director/Codes Director.

Rhonda Dunn

“Rhonda was doing two big jobs (Community Development and Codes Director),” Martin said in an interview. “With Jon Garrison retiring (this month), I was able to move some resources around.”

Community Development will be partnering with Economic Development to move the city forward, Martin said.

Other changes:

“Marlene Braker had the title of assistant to the finance director,” according to the minutes. “This position is not needed so her title will change to the financial analyst.”

Marlene Braker. Submitted photo.

“Paul Ballou has been promoted to Fort Scott’s Assistant City Manager/Fire Chief. He will be the second in command when the City Manager is unavailable,” according to the minutes.

Paul Ballou. Submitted photo.

Airport Director Kenny Howard is retiring effective December 31 and this position is posted on the city’s website. The new airport director will now report to Rachel Pruitt, Economic Development Director, according to the minutes.

Retiring Airport Director Kenny Howard with Rachel Pruitt, Economic Director for the city.

Deb Needleman, Human Resource Director, will begin overseeing the Information Technology position and taking over the city’s liability insurance which Kenny Howard has overseen, according to the minutes.

Deb Needleman. Submitted photo.

Dave Martin will supervise Larry Gazaway now and the new Community Development Director, according to the city’s minutes.

Larry Gazaway

U.S. Naturalization Ceremony Sept. 21 At The Fort

New citizens take an oath of allegiance to the United States in September 2017 at Fort Scott National Historic Site.

On a typically bright and sunny September day, U.S. immigrants from near and far come annually to Fort Scott for the final step in becoming citizens.

In 2018, the naturalization ceremony is at 10:30 a.m this Friday, Sept. 21 on the grounds of the Fort Scott National Historic Site, according to a press release provided by FSNHS.

The Fort is located just off North Main Street in downtown Fort Scott.

In case of rain or other inclement weather, the ceremony will be held at Fort Scott Memorial Hall, according to the press release.

The ceremony is one of listening to patriotic music, listening to both local and government dignitaries, newly naturalized citizens being introduced one-by-one to those attending the event, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States, and receiving a certificate of citizenship.

Fort Scottian Jane Njeri Lifer smiles following the naturalization ceremony in September 2017. In her hand is the certificate of naturalization.

The United States District Court for the District of Kansas will hold the special naturalization ceremony, with the Honorable Teresa J. James, United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Kansas,  presiding, according to the press release.

The ceremony will feature musical performances from the Fort Scott High School orchestra and choir, and an address from Robert L. Farmer, Attorney at Law, according to the information provided.

The Fort Scott High School orchestra and choir performed “America” at last year’s naturalization ceremony.

The Pittsburg State University Army ROTC will present the colors.

The new citizens will be invited to register to vote and enjoy a lunch provided by the Friends of Fort Scott National Historic Site, following the ceremony.

Also following the ceremony, there are usually small groups of people taking photos to commemorate the event.

Approximately 100 applicants will be naturalized at the ceremony, which is open to the public.

“We encourage the people to learn more about Fort Scott, the Fort and their American culture,” Carl Brenner, chief of interpretation and resource management at the Fort, said.

The Fort can be reached at 620- 223-0310.

 

 

 

Downtown Store To Be Converted To A Residence

 

9 North Main, Fort Scott

Long-time Fort Scottians Jerry Witt and his wife, Judy are trading in suburbia for living downtown.

“Judy and I used to live in the Carriage House, at Third and Main, that Cheney Witt (Funeral) Chapel owns, while our house was being built…We loved living downtown,” Witt said.

“My great-grandfather owned the Witt’s Chili Parlor downtown. I played on the old fort grounds as a kid,” he said.

This summer he has been working with the Fort Scott Planning Commission and also the Codes Department to get plans finalized for the renovation of the downtown building. Recently he got approval from the city to proceed with the project.

“I’m currently working with contractors,” Witts said. “I’ve got to get the interior demolished. The architect is Zingre and Associates. Dave Irwin helped on the project.”

Currently, there is no projected timeline for the renovation, Witt said.

 

 

A Beautiful Day For Art In The Yard

Tents and booths were set up in the shade of trees on the Kemna property Saturday for the public to view and buy the wares of artists.

The weather cooperated and the beautiful September day was enjoyed by attendees of the Art in the Yard festival at local artist Bobbi Kemna’s property northwest of Fort Scott on Saturday.

Local and area artists of all styles set up booths and tents in the shade to sell their wares.

Pottery, woodwork, fabric, painting, metal, photography, furniture, food, theater, music, jewelry and lavender artists were placed around the acreage for the public to visit with and buy their wares.

The City of Fort Scott provided a  free trolley from downtown to the site, located on 215th Street, rural Fort Scott.

There was no official headcount, Kemna said, but approximately 200 people is her estimate.

She said she welcomes feedback from attendees.

For more information click below:

Something New: Art In The Yard Sept. 15

Following are photos that were taken during the morning of the event.

The public is free to add their photos in comments.

Festival creator and host Bobbi Kemna, left, visits with Arnold and Clara Schofield and granddaughter on Saturday morning at the Art in the Yard Festival.
Barb McCord visits with an attendee while demonstrating how to weave in the nature tapestry she bought to the Art in the Yard Festival. The natural material was provided and the attendees were invited to weave the material through a giant loom, with the intent of a finished tapestry by days end.
Carol George admires Paul Milk’s Hardanger embroidery. Milk also sold photography and cross stitch articles at the Art in the Yard Festival Saturday.
The Fort Scott Community Orchestra, under the direction of Carson Felt, entertained the art festival attendees.
Sydney and Hannah Ramsey added final touches to Nick Magee’s artwork Saturday at Art in the Yard. Their mother, Emily Ramsey, right, supervises. Magee, in the background, had his paintings for sale at the Art in the Yard Festival.
The Fort Scott High School Thespians entertained the attendees with improv comedy Saturday. The group also sold soft drinks to further their cause of attending an international theater event in Scotland next summer.
Bobbi Kemna, event organizer and host, visits with attendees on the porch of her pottery workshop Saturday at  Art in the Yard.

Northeast Scott 4-H Club Makes Hand-Made Blankets for Mercy

Back Row: Ella Maher, Dalayni Foulk, Jasper Allison, Reegan McDaniel, Joe Foulk (tall in the very back), Lily Westoff, Alisa Popp, Sierra Wright, Brennon Popp, Brody Wright. Front Row: Landon McDaniel, Korbyn Allison, Rydale Hereford, Avery McDaniel, Ana Christy, Maverick Wright and Karlee Hereford.

Mercy Home Health and Hospice Receives Gift

FORT SCOTT, Kan. (Sept. 17, 2018) – Members of the Northeast Scott 4-H Club donated hand-made lap blankets to Mercy Home Health and Hospice to be given to patients.

I was so excited to receive the call about the donation,” said Tabitha Stults, Mercy Home Health and Hospice community relations coordinator. “The blankets are beautiful and so soft. Our team look forward to sharing the blankets with our hospice patients.”

The blankets were made during a crafts class under the direction of the craft leader Destiny Foulk.

 

 

Howard To Retire As Airport Director

 

Retiring Fort Scott Airport Director Kenny Howard, left, and Economic Director Rachel Pruitt, at the Chamber of Commerce Coffee Thursday morning at the airport.

Kenny Howard, Fort Scott’s Airport Director for the last 18 years, is retiring.

“I can’t say enough about Kenny’s leadership,” City Manager Dave Martin said at the Chamber of Commerce Coffee Thursday at the airport. “We’re definitely going to miss him.”

Howard will retire December 31 and the city is currently interviewing for the position, Martin said.

Howard told about some of the planned events in his tenure which included clinics and fly-in breakfasts.

There have been increased fuel sales at the airport, since changing fuel vendors, he said.

Last year approximately 77,000 gallons of fuel were sold there, and as of August 2018, approximately 92,000 have been sold thus far, he said.

Fort Scott Airport has two onsite fuel tanks: a 10,000 gallon Jet A gas tank and a 9,000 gallon AV gas tank.

Agricultural flying operations, corporate flights, medical emergency flights and more recently a request from the parents of some St. Martin’s Academy students for charter flights, are a part of the job.

His additional duties are overseeing the mowing of 190 acres of grass and overseeing the insurance piece for the airport.

He said he was able to drop the premium for the insurance coverage in the last few years.

Two recent grants for improvement were received: a grant that will upgrade the Automated Weather Observation Station, and one for improved runway lights.

Fort Scott Economic Development Director Rachel Pruitt said there is currently a Federal Aviation Administration opportunity for rural airports.

“I submitted an application in August…there is no matching grant required…to expand the runway,” Pruitt said.

“The last six years, the airport has seen 60 percent growth,” she said.

The Fort Scott Airport entrance at 187th and Indian Road.

 

For more information click below:

Airport Receives Two Grants To Update

USD 235 Fitness Center: Students-Yes…Community Use In Question

Uniontown High School 2018. The fitness center windows are the far right in this photo.

The great news is USD 235 students will soon get to use their new fitness equipment provided by a recent grant.

When the grant was first received, the school administration thought the community could also make use of the school’s new equipment.

But insurance liability issues are putting a stumbling block in community use, USD 235 Superintendent Bret Howard said.

Until the insurance issues are resolved, the community won’t be using the equipment, Howard said.

Howard hopes to hear back from the insurance company by the next school board meeting, Oct. 8, he said.

The board meets the second Monday of each month.

Governor Jeff Colyer and Jake Steinfeld, Chairman of the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils, in May 2018, announced three Kansas schools were selected to receive a DON’T QUIT! Fitness Center, each valued at $100.000.

USD 235 was one of the three schools.

Howard said it is his understanding that the other Kansas schools that received the fitness equipment from this grant program are not making it available to the community.

 The site for the fitness center is the former school library at the junior high school.

Installation was Labor Day weekend and a  ribbon cutting will take place Oct. 11 at 8:30 a.m. at West Bourbon Elementary School,  Howard said.

For more information see the previous story:

Uniontown School District Receives $100,000 Grant For Fitness Center

 

 

Lavender Soap Making

Betsy Reichard demonstrates soap making.

Presbyterian Village, an assisted living facility, hosted a make-it-and-take-it soap making class Tuesday evening.

The class was led by Betsy Reichard, who with husband Davin, owns the Lavender Patch Farm, 2376 Locust Road.

Reichard demonstrated the art and science of soapmaking that included a step-by-step guide through the basics of cold press soap making.

She also makes lotions, sprays, and other products from the lavender grown on their farm, as well as lavender bunches, which are sold outright.

The class was open to the public and free.

Participants visit and work on their soap project, while Reichard gives instructions.

Governor Updates Drought Declarations in Kansas Counties

The Governor’s Drought Team examines recent rains and drought conditions

 

Topeka – Recent rains for many areas of the state have led to evaluating current drought conditions and today Governor Jeff Colyer updated the Drought Declaration for Kansas counties with Executive Order 18-17. The update downgrades 55 counties.

 

“Kansas has been blessed with much-needed rains recently and we are able to declare many areas of the state now drought free,” said Governor Jeff Colyer. “We are still experiencing drought in the eastern portion of the state and continue to appreciate our federal partners at the Natural Resources Conservation Service as well as the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts for the producer assistance they are able to provide.”

 

With improvements in drought conditions the updated drought declaration now has 50 counties in emergency status, and five in watch status. This action was recommended by Tracy Streeter, Director of the Kansas Water Office (KWO) and Chair of the Governor’s Drought Response Team.

 

“Recent moisture has eased some of the drought conditions but we are still experiencing livestock water shortages, and forage production were less than half for most producers in eastern Kansas,” said Tracy Streeter. “Some areas of northeast Kansas are still behind more than 10 inches of moisture for the year.”

 

Counties in the emergency stage are eligible for emergency use of water from certain state fishing lakes due to the KWO Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Kansas Department of Wildlife (KDWPT). They also become eligible for water in some Federal reservoirs. For more information about this availability contact KWO.

 

This Executive Order and any authorized upgrade shall remain in effect for those counties so identified until rescinded by Executive Order or superseded by a subsequent Executive Order revising the drought stage status of the affected counties. Effective immediately:

 

  • Declare a Drought Emergency, Warning or Drought Watch for the counties identified below;
  • Authorize and direct all agencies under the jurisdiction of the Governor to implement the appropriate watch or warning or emergency level-drought response actions assigned in the Operations Plan of the Governor’s Drought Response Team.

The Governor’s Drought Response Team will continue to watch the situation closely and work to minimize the effects the drought has on Kansans.

 

For more detailed information about current conditions, see the Kansas Climate Summary and Drought Report on the Kansas Water Office website at www.kwo.ks.gov.

 

County Drought Stage Declarations:

 

Drought Emergency: Anderson, Atchison, Bourbon, Brown, Butler, Cherokee, Clay, Coffey, Cowley, Crawford, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Ellsworth,  Franklin, Geary, Greenwood,  Harper, Harvey, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Kingman, Labette,  Leavenworth, Lincoln, Linn, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Miami, Montgomery, Morris, Nemaha, Neosho, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Pottawatomie, Reno, Rice, Riley, Saline, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Sumner, Wabaunsee, Washington, Wyandotte

 

Drought Watch: Allen, Chautauqua, Elk, Wilson, Woodson

Overlook of the Marmaton River in Place at Riverfront Park

Editors note: The original feature did not have photos added, due to technical difficulties.

The boardwalk invites trail users to come to the seating area of the overlook in Riverfront Park.

Two years of planning have come to fruition in the form of a boardwalk structure with seating in Riverside Park, the latest park improvement.

“It’s an overlook for educational purposes,” Jerry Witt, Chairman of the Fort Scott Riverfront Authority, which oversees the development of the park.

The structure has been built near the meeting place of the Marmaton River and Mill Creek, in the northeast section of the park.

The Hexagon shaped overlook has seating on both sides. The vegetation in front will be cleared for better viewing of the Marmaton River and Mill Creek.

In the future the structure will be used to “Teach kids about nature and our heritage,” Witt said. “About Belltown that was there. It was a residential area in years past. Named after Dr. Bell, a prominent doctor.”

Several people and entities have helped put this project in the park.

The structure was designed by Brian Leaders, an architect at the National Park Service.

Lumber was provided by the Westar Green Team.

“The Green Team provided old telephone poles that were milled at the Jeffery Power Plant, St. Mary’s, and from Garnett,” Witt said.

Witt and Allen Warren, another member of the Riverfront Authority board,  drove to St. Mary’s to bring back one-half the lumber, then Warren and his wife, Jackie, went to Garnett to pick up the rest of the lumber.

The City of Fort Scott unloaded the lumber off the trailer and also will provide a concrete walk from the trail to the structure.

The City of Fort Scott will build a concrete walkway to the edge of the overlook boardwalk, pictured, to the walking trail in Riverfront Park. In the back right, Allen Warren and Jerry Witt visit with a trail walker Tuesday morning.

“Chad Brown (Fort Scott Public Works Director) thought they would pour the concrete this week,” Witt said.

West and Karleskint Construction, Fort Scott,  built the structure.

Jerry Witt and Allen Warren sort the leftover wood from the overlook boardwalk at Riverfront Park Tuesday morning. The wood will be used for other projects.

Next for the park:

  • A grant has been submitted to Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism for a playground for children, with notification this fall of whether it was awarded the $62,000 asked for.
  • A grant to Kansas Department of Transportation to move the historic 1902 ornate Long Shoals Bridge, currently located in northeast Bourbon County, to the park. The grant has been submitted with a request of $1, 364,000. Announcement of awards will be this fall.
  • The Mercy Hospice Memorial  is nearing completion on the south side of the park. Benches will be built and future memorial services will be held there.

Already completed in Riverside Park is a walking trail, pavilion, and River Loop Road.