All posts by Loretta George

Ronda Bailey Retires From FSCC

Ronda Bailey, submitted photo.

This is part of a series highlighting educators who will retire this school year.

In spite of the world crisis, life goes on, and FortScott.Biz will continue to  feature stories of local interest.


Ronda Bailey, 63, has been an educator at Fort Scott Community College for 36 years, teaching English, music and education.

She is retiring this year.

The best part of teaching for Bailey has been being with the students, she said. ” I love the classroom. I love seeing them succeed when they never thought they would; or sharpen their skills. Also, I enjoy watching them discover who they are and what they want to do with their lives.”

” I am heartbroken that I will not get to have the remainder of this year with the students who were in my classes, but I also know that some of them will be in my life after this is over. Many of my former students stay in touch, and I love it.  I am excited for the all-school reunion at Uniontown later this year.”


How did you become an educator?

“I remember sitting in my seventh-grade music class in Bronaugh listening to my band teacher Betty Jo Laflen. As I sat there, I realized I wanted to do what she did.  I am excited that this fall, I will be substituting for Bronaugh’s current band director while she is on maternity leave. It is exciting for me to go back to the room where my career started.”


Did someone inspire you to teach?

“There were many, but four come to mind. The first was my Aunt, Florence Mason. She taught in many of the one-room schools in Bourbon County.  She took me with her to school one day. I believe that was the day I thought teaching could be fun. I already mentioned Betty Jo Laflen. I told her that I wanted to do what she did.  She then mentored me.  She encouraged me by having me take solos to contest,  perform in ensembles at Bronaugh and PSU, and take voice, piano, and clarinet lessons. She continued in that mentor role throughout my career. Sharon Pruitt was the band director at Bronaugh after Mrs. Laflen resigned. Sharon has been a mentor too, and she was piano teacher my senior year. She prepared me for college. All of these women were positive role models that I was fortunate to have in my life. The last person taught me community college teaching, band directing, and recruiting was Robert Estes. He would explain the how and why he directed a composition a certain way, how to organize a music festival and much more.  My Aunt Florence died several years ago, but the other three are still very much in my life.  I am blessed.”


What have been the greatest challenges?

“Leaving Uniontown School District and leaving Fort Scott Community College.

The Uniontown school district, parents, and children accepted me with open arms. It was a time of great music there. We all worked toward a common goal, and we were successful marching, competing in contest competitions, and learning to love music. It was a wonderful time in my life, and it was so hard to leave..

” Leaving FSCC is a challenge too.  FSCC has been in my life for nearly 40 years. I walked on that campus a scared girl from Bronaugh who did not think she could achieve her dream of teaching, but FSCC was the perfect fit. I was in every music ensemble, second runner-up homecoming queen representing Christians on Campus, and student government. I was the Greyhound Express editor, and Bernita Hill, the sponsor, taught me so much about journalism and English. I have taught, in some capacity, at FSCC thirty-six years.  Walking out that door for the last time is hard.”


Thoughts on retiring?

“As I said previously, I am going to be a substitute at Bronaugh, Mo. I am excited to have my first summer without teaching summer classes for the first time in fifteen years. I want to read some of the good books that I have not had a chance to read for a while and sew some.

“Hopefully, this pandemic will pass soon and my husband and I will be able to travel some. Until then we will work on our cattle ranch.”



Bailey received an AA from FSCC in 1976,   a BSED K-12 instrumental and choral music education from Missouri Southern State University,  a master’s in music and also an English certification for 7-12 and Advanced Studies English from Pittsburg State University, in addition, she attended Baker University for Advanced Studies English.



Bailey’s hometown is Bronaugh, Mo. She is married to  Roger and they have a daughter, Taylor.



Bailey has been involved in the community in the following ways: Bourbon County Arts Council Member, Bourbon County Fair Fashion Revue Superintendent, Bourbon County Fair Extension Unit Sewing Judge, Progressive Mother’s Club Member, and past president and vice president, Gordon Parks Center Board, member of Community Christian Church and worship accompanist.





Karen Mix Retires From West Bourbon Elementary School

Karen Mix. Submitted photo.

This is part of a series highlighting educators who will retire this school year.

In spite of the world crisis, life goes on, and FortScott.Biz will continue to  feature stories of local interest.


Karen Mix, 61, 30-year kindergarten teacher at West Bourbon Elementary School is retiring.

“I have been blessed to work at the USD 235 district,” Mix said.

She substituted in the district for three years, taught fifth-grade for one year, then began her career in kindergarten.

“There is so much satisfaction in teaching kindergarten,” Mix said. “It is amazing what these little ones can achieve in a year. The gains they make in knowledge, self-confidence, and social skills…I have gone to work to do a job that I love to do!  I have been able to sing, dance, laugh and have snacks every day!  Plus, I have actually gotten paid to do it!  I can only hope that I have touched my students’ lives in as many ways as they have mine.”

” I felt it was important to teach kindness and respect for each other,” she said. ” We said the Golden Rule every day, I always told them that it was not just a 5-year-olds rule but a rule for all your life!
I think sometimes a kindergarten teacher’s role in a child’s life is not always understood by many people. Many times I have been the first role model they have met since leaving their parents. I have so many roles in class…drying tears, hugging fears away, fixing girls hair, zipping, tying shoes, teaching them to look, listen, learn and have fun. It has been a crazy ride and I have loved every minute of it!!!

Mix received her education from Fort Scott High School, Fort Scott Community College, then Pittsburg State University and finally Walden University where she earned her Masters Degree in Reading.

Her second-grade teacher who became her aunt, Hazel Ploeger, inspired her to teach, she said.

Her hometown is  Independence, Mo.  but she moved to Fort Scott, when 17 years old.

Mix married her husband,  Mike, at 19 years old and they bought the farm they have lived on since.

“We have two sons, Evan married to Marci,  one grandson, and twins due in April. And our youngest son, Matthew.”

Mix has been involved in her community as a member of the Fulton United Methodist Church.

One of the greatest challenges in teaching for Mix was keeping up with the many changes that the state requires of schools, she said.


“I am looking forward to spending more time with my husband and my grandchildren,” she said.

Read An Ebook During This Time Of Social Distancing

Fort Scott Public Library


Fort Scott Public Library Director Lisa Walther is working to get access to reading books from your cellphone or computer during this time of social distancing.

You can sign up for a library card.

“If you already have an account with us and need assistance getting ebooks, please email me and I will try to troubleshoot for you, Walther said. “If you DO NOT have an account with us, go to our catalog at and create an account. I will adjust that account so you will be able to check out from our electronic resources. If you have a library card, you already have access. Our intent is to provide access to those of you who don’t have an account.

This is for Bourbon County residents only, she said.

The following is a press release sent by Walther.


“If you don’t have an account/card with us, we now have a way for you to access our online ebook resources. Go to and create an account. Be sure you make note of your password and that your email is correct. I recommend that you sign in and change your password.

If you want access on the day that you create your account, email me at either or Please include your full name in your email. If you wait, I will run a report every morning and convert accounts at that time.

“I will edit your account so that you have access to our digital resources hoopladigital and sunflowerelibrary Then I will send you an email with your digital account number and your username. If you have a particular username that you prefer, please let me know by email. The system automatically assigns a name: firstname.lastname. but I can change that if you wish.

See our website: for links and more information. Since this is an experiment, it’s likely we’ll add updates as questions and problems arise.

At this time, we are limiting our digital accounts to Bourbon County residents.

If you already have a card with us, please don’t create a new account. Email me with your question, and I’ll try to resolve it. Please include your name and card number in your email.

If you are interested in the Kansas Library eCard, I can set you up. Email me with your name, including middle initial, birthdate, and verify that you live in Kansas.”

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Kansas Test Results

March 24, 2020 Public Update
For more information:

Updated 3/24/20 at 11 a.m.

Total Positive Cases
Private Labs
Kansas Health and Environmental Lab (KHEL)
Deaths (included in above numbers)
Out-of-State Resident Positive Cases*
(not counted in Kansas numbers)

Total Negative Cases for Kansans

Positive Case Information
County Number

Linn County
Butler County
Cherokee County
Mitchell County**
Morris County
Douglas County**
Reno County
Jackson County
Johnson County
Leavenworth County
*Ford and Miami Counties reported positive cases in out-of-state residents.
**Douglas and Mitchell Counties had incorrect numbers in their updates for 3/23/20. It should have read Douglas County—6; Mitchell County—1 for a collective total of 79 for 3/23/20.



Age Range
Age range on patients is 7 to 90 years of age, with a median age of 52.

Common Ground Open And Has New Drive-Through Window

Brady Masters, Fort Scott,  gives change to a coffee customer at the new Common Ground Coffee Co. ‘drive-through window, which opened March 23.. Courtesy photo.

Common Ground Coffee Co. moved locations a few blocks down and around the corner and  is now located at 12 E. Wall.

A new drive-through window was opened yesterday, March 23 and can be accessed in the alley east of the coffee shop.

“We were closed March 7th-10th and reopened on Wednesday, March 11th,” Kaitlynn Davis, events planner for the coffee company said.  “If you give our Facebook profile a follow at Common Ground Coffee Co., you will be able to find our… menu.”

Menu on the wall of Common Ground Coffee Company. Kenny Felt Photography.

They are not open for the dine-in option currently, because of the emergency disaster declaration from the government due to COVID 19 virus fears.

There is online ordering or a take-out menu can be picked up at the drive-through window, Brady Masters, an employee said.

Approach the new drive-thru window from  First Street in the alley between National Avenue and Main St.

“You will have to dodge some holes, poles and a dumpster but it will be worth it,” according to the Common Ground Coffee Company Facebook page.

“All you have to do is give Common Ground Coffee a call at 620-223-2499, and we will be more than happy to serve you,” Davis said. The hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Common Ground Coffee Company, 12 E. Wall. Kenny Felt Photography.

“The current up to date menu for Common Ground Coffee Company is on our website, which is,” Davis said.


“We have 17 hard-working employees…” Davis said.  “All of our employees are put through a training process that takes place in Kansas City, Kansas. They all learn specialized skills in Kansas City that they bring to the coffee shop and use to serve our beloved costumers.”

Common Ground Coffee Company, 12 E. Wall. Kenny Felt Photography.

The owner of Common Ground is the Fort Scott Nazarene Church, the owners of the newly restored building in which it is housed are Adam and Jennifer LaRoche, Davis said.

Common Ground is a non-profit organization owned by Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene. They strive to unite the community by providing a “Common Ground” experience.

“All who wish to stop in, newcomers and regulars alike, are welcome as they partner with us to benefit our community with all profits made,” according to its’ Facebook page.

Common Ground Coffee Company, 12 E. Wall. Kenny Felt Photography.

Did You Display Art Work At the Former Coffee Shop Site?

The former coffee shop space had many artist’s paintings displayed.  The paintings were not able to move with the shop.

See their Facebook page for photos of the artwork that is looking for its’ owner.

Non-Essential Businesses Closed, Restrictions Put In Place For Others Following First COVID 19 Report In Bourbon County

Rebecca Johnson, SEKMCHD Director.

Following the notification of the first COVID 19 positive test in Bourbon County, officials are requiring more stringent measures.


“We were saddened to learn of the resident in Bourbon County, KS who tested positive for COVID-19,” according to the Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Department Facebook page.  “The resident and their family will be in our thoughts and prayers. Let’s use this time to all work towards the same goal of preventing the spread of the virus further. This will not be easy, nor very enjoyable, but for the health and future of our communities, we must at least try. Thank you for your continued support and understanding, as we continue to serve our counties.”

This morning on the City of Fort Scott Facebook page, Bourbon County Public Health Officer Rebecca Johnson said:

“Daycares should not take any new enrollees from out of county.

Hotels increase cleaning and disinfecting practices especially after every person checks out.

School staff, food service workers, and volunteers will be allowed to provide, prepare and deliver meals. Social distancing greater than six feet and less than 10 minutes shall be enforced.

There will be more guidelines to follow.”

The following was an order published at  8 p.m.last evening on March 22, 2020, by Bourbon County Public Health Officer Johnson.

The following actions are officially implemented by the Bourbon County Public Health Officer and shall be in official force and effect at 8:00 PM on Sunday, March 22, 2020.

This order shall remain in effect until modified or rescinded by the Public Health Officer.

This Order is made under the powers granted the Local Public Health Officer in KSA 65-119 et seq. and the Emergency Declarations of the governments of the United States, the State of Kansas, and Bourbon County, as well as the Home Rule powers of Bourbon County under state statute.

Bourbon County is now restricting or prohibiting business activities for all non-essential businesses and is making recommendations for essential business functions as follows:

Essential Businesses

The following have been determined to be essential business functions for Bourbon County:

Grocery Stores shall be allowed to remain open to the public for business to supply needed food and supplies to the citizens of Bourbon County. It is recommended that these stores take precautions to reduce in-person contacts as much as possible, maintain social distancing (6 foot or more) when practical, and consider using curb-side service whenever possible.

Convenient Stores/Gas Stations shall remain open to the public.

It is recommended that these stores take precautions to reduce in-person contacts as much as possible, maintain social-distancing (6 foot or more) when practical, and shall eliminate gathering places within the store to prevent social grouping activities.

Funeral Homes are allowed to remain open but efforts should be made to reduce numbers (family only gatherings recommended) and shall work to limit crowds and shall strive to maintain the recommended social distancing as described above.

Health Care Facilities and Providers/Veterinary Clinics shall remain open and use social distancing and other techniques as applicable to help prevent the virus spread.

Providers may want to have patients/customers stay in cars until their turn to avoid waiting area congestion and issues with maintaining social distancing.

Utility Providers shall be allowed to remain open.

It is recommended that providers take steps to limit work-to-worker interactions to help reduce the chance for losing multiple workers and/or causing utility disruptions. Calls for service to individual residences should be pre-screened before entering those locations.

Banks & Pharmacies shall be allowed to remain open for business. Whenever possible, it is recommended to close lobbies and inside operations and use the drive-through’ s to conduct necessary business. People who are allowed to come inside the business should be prescreened before allowing entry.

Non-Essential Businesses (Allowed Open with Restrictions)

The following businesses have been determined to be non-essential businesses as related to this pandemic, however, they will be allowed to remain open with the following restrictions as described below.

These restrictions shall be implemented by no later than noon, Monday, March 23, 2020, and shall remain in a restricted status until this order is rescinded by the Public Health Officer.

Parts Stores/Lumber Yards/Hardware Stores shall be allowed to remain open, however, public access to the inside of the store shall be prohibited. These businesses should use delivery or curb-side service and maintain social distancing as much as possible during those activities.

Bars/Restaurants-These businesses shall be allowed to remain open for business, however, public access to the inside of the bar/restaurant shall be prohibited. These businesses should use delivery or curb-side service and maintain social distancing as much as possible during those activities.

Manufacturing-Manufacturing businesses shall be allowed to remain open, however, public access to the facilities shall be prohibited. All efforts should be made to maintain social distancing between workers whenever possible.

Agricultural Business shall be allowed to remain open, however, public access to the inside of the store shall be prohibited. These businesses should use delivery or curb-side service and maintain social distancing as much as possible during those activities.

Automotive Repair Shops shall be allowed to remain open, however, public access to the buildings and facilities shall be extremely limited. All efforts should be made to maintain social distancing between individual workers and between workers and customers whenever possible.

Other Retail Sales not identified above may remain in operation but the business shall keep doors closed and restrict business to one customer at a time inside the store. Examples include liquor stores, gun stores, pawn shops, and other similar business types.

Non-Essential Businesses (Closed/Shut-Down)

The following businesses types have been determined to be non-essential as related to the pandemic and shall be closed/shut down no later than noon, Monday, March 23, 2020, and shall remain shut until this order is rescinded by the Public Health Officer:

Barber/Beauty Shops shall be shut down as there is no practical way to maintain social distancing.

Fitness Centers/Gyms shall be shut down.

Libraries“-We appreciate the fact that the library in Bourbon County has already voluntarily shut down to help assist lessening the spread of COVID-19. Libraries shall close or remain closed to the public until the order is rescinded,” according to Johnson.

Other Businesses-Businesses not otherwise described that cannot maintain or attempt to maintain the 6-foot social distancing shall be closed until this order is rescinded. This would include any businesses that by its very nature direct person-to-person contact of fewer than 6 feet.

If your business type is not specifically included or defined by the above information and you have questions on what, if any restrictions apply, please call (620)223-4464 for guidance.

“If sick, stay home,” Johnson said. “Stay away from people that are ill, especially vulnerable populations (with diseases and the elderly), avoid face to face time, more than six feet apart for less than 10 minutues.”

“Practice personal hygiene habits of handwashing after bathroom, before eating, if you sneeze or cough or handshake. Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.”

Johnson is part of the SEK Multi-County Health Department. Her office is located at 6th and Lowman Streets.


Public Health Director Orders Non Essential Bourbon County Businesses to Close

Public Health Director Rebecca Johnson sent the following order:

SEK MCHD 3-22-20 Order(1)

The order lists a number of businesses that will be allowed to remain opened and businesses that should be closed along with restrictions for the businesses that will remain open.

Grocery, healthcare, convenience stores, and gas stations will remain open but are encouraged to reduce social interactions as much as possible and use curbside service where feasible.

Larry Shead Retiring From FSCC

Larry Shead. Submitted photo.
Larry Shead, 69,  instructor at Fort Scott Community College will retire in May.
A  teacher of computer science classes at the college for the last 20 years,  Shead worked in private business, then as principal of a local school and began his career at FSCC in 2000.
Even though his college degree is in mathematics, his involvement in his church got him into eduction.
“When our church started Faith Christian Academy and our children attended there, I was involved as a parent,” he said. “Later, I was involved as the principal of the school.”
” I have several preachers and teachers in my ancestry.,” Shead said. “However,  my children are the main reason I got involved in education.  I believe that children get a much better education when their parents are involved in their education.  All of my grandchildren are being home-schooled by their parents.  They are very involved.”
“When my family moved to Garland from Joplin, in 1978, I had a job as a computer programmer at the Western Insurance Companies,” Shead said.  “After that, I worked for Midwestern Distribution for a short period, then Farm and Home in Nevada.  I got more into education after that as the Principal of Faith Christian Academy for 10 years.  I taught at FSCC as a night time adjunct instructor while working at the Western.  In 2000, I began as a full-time employee at FSCC and soon became the Computer Science teacher when Dennis Smirl retired.”
Shead attended  Arcadia High School, then graduated from Pittsburg  High School, Pittsburg, before earning a  Bachelor of Science – Mathematics from Kansas State College of Pittsburg. and also attended  Ozark Christian College for one year. He received a Master of Arts in Education from Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, OK.
His hometown is Arcadia, KS and has been married to his wife, Vickie for 47 years.
They have four married children-Mark (Haley) Shead, Fort Scott, Michael (Chrisi) Shead, Chichicastenango, Guatemala; Maria (Clayton) Whitson, Garland, KS; Mitzi (Joel) Ray, Tulsa, OK and  20 grandchildren.
His community involvement is Faith Church on the prayer team; Bourbon County Republican Central Committee; Christians on Campus Faculty Sponsor;  and International Student Coordinator at FSCC.
The best part of teaching  for Shead is  graduation, he said.  “Seeing these young people having completed their associate’s degree, or certificate and moving on to the next phase of life!”
The greatest challenge for Shead has been keeping students attention., he said.  “This age of gadgets has many distractions even in the classroom.”
” Some people ask me what I will do when I retire,” Shead said. ” I tell them, I have a farm.  I will not lack for something to do.  As my wife and I made a short trip recently, we made a list of items we need to do on our farm.   Also, our family in Guatemala has a new baby we have not seen.  We plan to make a trip to see them.  Hanging out with grandchildren is big on the list, too.”

Apex Energy/Bourbon County Commission Agreements Signed

Wind turbines just off  Kansas Hwy. 59 in Allen County.

The controversial wind energy business is coming to Bourbon County.


Following a request to Apex Clean Energy, the wind energy company from Charlottesville, Virginia for specifics on the project, the following statement was provided.


Apex Clean Energy entered into five agreements with the  Bourbon County Commission last Friday, March 13, according to Helen Humphreys, public engagement manager for Apex.


“In addition to setting out how Jayhawk Wind (Jayhawk) will operate in the community, the agreements also empower the county to enforce the provisions and ensure residents’ concerns are addressed both during the construction process and once the project is operational,” according to the press release provided FortScott.Biz.


Julianna Pianelli, Apex Project Development Manager, said, “We appreciate the Bourbon County commissioners for their careful, objective review of the Jayhawk Wind agreements. We know that economic opportunity has been a priority for the county, and we are proud that Jayhawk will provide a new source of revenue, new jobs, and new customers for local businesses.”


The agreements with Bourbon County Commissioners are unique No other entity or individuals are similarly restricted in the use of county roads and given that Bourbon County does not have zoning restrictions, several of these agreements are entirely voluntary and reflect Apex’s commitment to community engagement, according to information provided by Humpherys.

Standing at the bottom of a wind turbine looking up at the clear Kansas sky.


The following was sent from Humphreys regarding the agreements with the Bourbon County Commission.


“Decommissioning Agreement

Decommissioning agreements are common in the wind industry and ensure that financial resources are available to remove the turbines and related facilities at the end of a project’s lifespan. The Jayhawk Decommissioning Agreement:

  • Specifies that the turbines, and related equipment, will be removed by the project owner when the project is complete; and
  • Requires that, on the 10th anniversary of the completion of construction, Jayhawk Wind will place a performance bond, letter of credit, or other security acceptable to the county to cover the net removal cost in an amount determined by an engineer selected by the county.
  • To view the document:
  • doc10726320200313102218-c-c-c

Contribution Agreement

The Contribution Agreement details the financial donation Jayhawk will make to Bourbon County if the project enters construction. Kansas law exempts renewable energy projects like Jayhawk from property taxes for the first ten years of operation, just as it does with a property such as farm equipment and other sources of energy production. In place of these taxes, wind developers often propose to donate funds to a county through a voluntary contribution agreement because we believe it is important that a project directly benefits its community.

In the Bourbon agreements, Jayhawk committed to making an initial payment of $407,812.50 to Bourbon County upon receiving notice to proceed with construction. This payment will be followed by nine annual payments of $365,625, and a final annual payment of $182,813.

After 10 years of operation, the tax exemption will expire, and Jayhawk will pay property taxes to the municipalities and school districts in which the project is located. According to the Jayhawk Wind Economic Impact Analysis:

  • Bourbon County will receive annual revenues of $586,380 and a total of $11.4 million over the projected 25-year life of the project;
  • Uniontown Unified School District will receive $387,000 annually beginning in year 11 and a total of $5.8 million;
  • Girard Unified School District will receive $203,000 annually beginning in year 11 and a total of $3 million; and
  • Erie Unified School District will receive $38,00 annually beginning in year 11 and a total of $572,000.
  • To view the document:
  • doc10726020200313102002-c-c-c

Road Use Agreement

The Road Use Agreement (RUA) clearly outlines Jayhawk’s obligation to maintain or improve the county roadways it will use. According to the agreement, the county will prepare a pre-construction road survey and establish an inventory of the roads before construction. These tools will be used to both mitigate project impacts on local traffic during construction and to determine what repairs and improvements will be needed to return the roads to pre-construction condition.

Also, vehicles with a combined weight of 80,000 pounds or more will be required to stay on approved transportation routes.

Jayhawk Wind agrees to return the roads it uses during construction to a condition that is “as good or better” to that existing before construction. Also, Jayhawk will be obligated to make repairs to any roads damaged during construction that create a hazard to the traveling public.

The RUA ensures Bourbon County has the resources needed to oversee the project and details how Jayhawk Wind will coordinate with county officials, by providing:

  • $50,000 for the County to hire outside engineering or added employee costs;
  • $250,000 security provided by Jayhawk before construction begins to guarantee its obligations under the RUA;
  • Proof that Jayhawk shall maintain $3,000,000 in insurance; and
  • That even after Jayhawk becomes operational, larger projects for which Jayhawk must use county roads will require Jayhawk to purchase a bond and ensure damage resulting from its road use is repaired.
  • To view the document:
  • doc10725620200313101557-c-c-c

Development Agreement

While Bourbon County is not a zoned county, Jayhawk voluntarily agreed to a few project design restrictions including:

  • Sound from each turbine shall be less than 50 dBA at any non-participating home;
  • Turbines shall be set no less than 1,400 feet from any non-participating home;
  • Turbines shall be set back no less than 1.1 times the height of the turbine from any non-participating property line;
  • Turbines shall be set back no less than 1.1 times the height of the turbine from any county road; and
  • Turbines shall be tubular towers and lighting shall be by the FAA.
  • To view the document:
  • doc10725720200313101736-c (Signature Edit)-c-c

Complaint Resolution Agreement

Jayhawk agreed to a complaint resolution process that ensures members of the public who make a complaint can have confidence that their concerns will be addressed. Moreover, it empowers the county to order a review of unresolved complaints by an independent engineer. The Development Agreement requires Jayhawk to:

  • Establish a “24/7” single point of contact to take claims or issues and respond to complaints within five business days;
  • Maintain a record of complaints received and resolve any deemed to violate the Development Agreement; and
  • Be bound by the decision of a third-party engineer during dispute resolution between the county and the project.”
  • To view the document:
  • doc10725920200313101859-c-c-c

“Cumulatively, these agreements enable the continued development of Jayhawk while providing certainty for Bourbon County that all residents will benefit either directly or indirectly from the project,” according to the information provided by Humphreys.

The Jayhawk Wind project is expected to be operational in 2021.according to the information from Humphreys. It will produce enough power to supply 70,000 average U.S. homes and will also provide significant economic benefits for the local economy, according to the information.  This includes the creation of more than 115 construction jobs and seven long-term operations positions.

Filings for the November 2020 Election in the County

John Horn votes during a 2017 election at the Bourbon County Courthouse.

The election process has begun and  this year the general election date is November 3,

“Filing deadline is noon, June 1st, 2020,” Bourbon County Clerk Kendell Mason said. “Anyone wanting to run for a local office can pick up the filing paperwork from my office.”


The county clerk’s office is located on the first floor of the north wing of the Bourbon County courthouse, 210 S. National Ave.


Since the interview, the courthouse has temporarily closed due to COVID 19 prevention measures.


“I am checking my emails on a regular basis,” Mason said on March 17. “if someone needs a packet they can email me with their mailing information and we will mail them a packet.  My email address is”



At the county level, there have been some filings for Bourbon County Sheriff and two commission positions, Mason said.


So far this year, three men have applied to run for Bourbon County Sheriff:  Derick Burke, Bill Martin and Craig A. Rice

Fort Scott Police Department Officer Derick Burke. File photo. Burke is running for sheriff.


Bourbon County Sheriff Bill Martin. Submitted photo. Martin is running for sheriff.


Craig Rice. Courtesy photo by Merle Humphrey. Rice is running for sheriff.



Two Bourbon County Commission seats are up for election:

For Commission District #2 – Jeffrey Fischer and Jim Harris

For Commission District #3 – LeRoy “Nick” Ruhl

Jeff Fischer, District 2 Bourbon County Commissioner. He is running for his current position.
Jim Harris, Bourbon County Public Works Director. Harris is running for District 2 Commissioner.
Nick Ruhl, District 3 Bourbon County Commissioner. He is running for his current position.



“Elections in even years are in August and November,” Mason said. “A  law changed the odd-year elections from spring to fall.


As of last week, there are no amendments received to be put on the ballot,  Mason said.


The following is from the Bourbon County website:

Not sure if you’re registered to vote or where to vote?

You may register to vote online, through the Kansas Secretary of State’s website.

Check your voter registration status, the location of your polling place and view a sample ballot at VoterView by the Secretary of State.

Advance Voting is available prior to each election.  You may advance vote in one of two ways:  By mail, by filing an application for a ballot to be mailed to you   OR   in-person, beginning at least one week prior to any election.


Dollar General Dedicates First Shopping Hour to Senior Citizens Starting March 17

The freezer and cooler section were expanded in the recent Dollar General remodel.

Dollar General Corporation announced plans to dedicate the first hour of each shopping day to senior shoppers, as well as amend store operating hours beginning March 17, 2020.

Senior Hour Encouragement
“Dollar General is strongly encouraging that the first hour of operations each day be dedicated solely for the shopping needs of senior customers, who are one of the groups most vulnerable to the COVID-19 coronavirus. In keeping with the Company’s mission of Serving Others,”  according to its’ website. “Dollar General wants to provide these at-risk customers with the ability to purchase the items they need and want at the beginning of each day to avoid busier and more crowded shopping periods.”

Fort Scott Dollar General  Manager LaDonna Sandstoe said today that the “plan came through from headquarters,” and “there was a “conference call this morning.”
“It didn’t work too well this morning,” Sandstoe said. “We had teenagers coming through here with the seniors.”
“But 8 to 9 a.m. is designated for the elderly,” she said.
Hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sandstoe said.
The following is from the Dollar General website;

“Other customers are encouraged to plan their shopping trips around this window of time to allow the most susceptible customers in our communities the ability to shop during the first hour that stores are open.

Store Hour Adjustments
Additionally, all stores plan to close one hour earlier than current close times to allow employees to clean and re-stock store shelves, as well as for their health and wellbeing.  Stores will continue to maintain current opening hours. Normal operating hours by individual store locations are available here.

Dollar General remains committed to providing customers and employees with a safe, clean and pleasant shopping environment at all stores and seeks for customers to feel confident when shopping its stores.

Quote from Todd Vasos, CEO
“In keeping with our mission and our ongoing commitment to serve our communities, we are dedicating the first hour of each day to seniors.  We appreciate our customers’ understanding of our decision and request they visit our stores later in the morning to allow at-risk populations the ability to purchase the items they need at affordable prices,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s CEO. “During these unprecedented times, Dollar General is diligently working to meet the ongoing needs of our customers and communities. We are proud to live our mission and provide customers with everyday low prices on the household essentials that are used and replenished most often.”

About Dollar General Corporation
Dollar General Corporation has been delivering value to shoppers for more than 80 years. Dollar General helps shoppers Save time. Save money. Every day!® by offering products that are frequently used and replenished, such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids, cleaning supplies, basic apparel, housewares and seasonal items at everyday low prices in convenient neighborhood locations. Dollar General operated 16,278 stores in 44 states as of January 31, 2020. In addition to high-quality private brands, Dollar General sells products from America’s most-trusted manufacturers such as Clorox, Energizer, Procter & Gamble, Hanes, Coca-Cola, Mars, Unilever, Nestle, Kimberly-Clark, Kellogg’s, General Mills, and PepsiCo. Learn more about Dollar General at”

Fiber Optic Coming to Uniontown, Continuing In Fort Scott

Conduit for the Craw-Kan Fiber Optic project sits on Uniontown City property on March 7.

Hi-speed internet is coming to Uniontown.

Craw-Kan Telephone Cooperative, Girard, received a broadband internet loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and has been stockpiling conduit and cable in Uniontown since late February 2020.


The new high-speed internet service will be provided to the 350 customers in Uniontown, Craig Wilbert, general manager of Craw-Kan said.

Craig Wilbert, general manager of Craw-Kan Telephone Cooperative.

“There will be no rate change,” Wilbert said.


Craw-Kan crews will be replacing copper lines, then connect to computers, phone, and cable TV, giving access to up to  1,000 gigabits per second.


A landline may be required as a prerequisite for internet service based on geographic location, call the cooperative at  620-724-8235 to check.


The benefits of the new project: getting the fastest available internet in the county, at an affordable rate, Wilbert said.


” Great for students and also makes working from home a reality,” Wilbert said.


The internet service will only be for Craw-Kan Cooperative members.


The Uniontown project will start late spring 2020. “when the weather dries out a bit” and won’t be complete until mid to late 2021, Wilbert said.



The cooperative received a Rural Utilities Services loan which requires contractors to be certified by an engineering company that has demonstrated the ability to complete a project this large.  Any contractor meeting this condition can bid on the job, Wilbert said.

To learn about Craw-Kan prices:


Materials are ready for the Uniontown Fiber Optic project.


Fort Scott Fiber Optic Project

Craw-Kan has also been replacing internet copper lines in Fort Scott, in preparation for service there.

Uniontown will all be done at the same time as the Fort Scott project and will be cut over to be in service at the same time, Wilbert said.



“The Fort Scott project is about one-half done,” Wilbert said. “There is a central office on National Avenue where our equipment is.


“The west side of Ft. Scott is nearly complete,” he said.” I anticipate about 12 more months for the rest of the city to be completed.  We do it in sections so services will be available in chunks of territories as they are completed.”


Why does a project like this take so long?


” Mainly it is a matter of cost,” Wilbert said.  “Ft. Scott will end up being a several million dollar project and the Cooperative simply does not have the financial means to complete a city the size of Ft. Scott in one year.  The second reason is the scope of the project.  It is similar to replacing every water or electric line in town.  We are passing every home and business within the city limits.  That’s a lot of fiber to bury!  Definitely worth the wait.”


The life expectancy of fiber optic lines is 40 years, Wilbert said.


Spools of optical cable.


Craw-Kan Expanding Business Customers

The projects are the result of declining populations in rural areas nationwide, he said. This was affecting the Craw-Kan business negatively.


“We needed to find new business,” Wilbert said. “We decided to find non-members of the coop, they are strictly customers.”


They received requests from Mound City, St.Paul, Pittsburg and Fort Scott and those projects are completed, he said.



Workers from Bob Hull, Inc., Frankfurt, KS unload fiber optic cable in Uniontown on Feb. 29.