It all began 20 years ago, when an assignment from a local high school history teacher changed the lives of many people, including an unsung hero.
Irena Sendler was a Polish Catholic social worker, who risked her own life to rescue a significant number of Jewish children during WWII.
Her story was unknown to the public for 60 years until three high school students from Uniontown, Kansas uncovered its details in September of 1999 and shared Irena’s story with the world, according to a press release from the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes.
Sendler died in 2008 but not before meeting the teacher and three students who discovered her story.
Twenty years ago this week, Life in a Jar: the Irena Sendler Project was started by Uniontown High School students Elizabeth Cambers Hutton, Sabrina Coons Murphy, and Megan Stewart Felt in Norm
Conard’s high school history class, according to the press release.
Megan Felt has gone on to become the program director of the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes, while the former history teacher, Norm Conard, has become the executive director.
“The Life in a Jar Project and Irena Sendler’s story has completely changed my life,” Felt said. “I have learned a powerful history, met wonderful people, received scholarships and support to complete both of my college degrees, and changed my career path so I can help others have the special experiences I have had.”
“Those who have been involved in the project over the last 20 years realize we all have a responsibility to make a positive difference in the world around us,” she said. “I am so grateful for that day in 1999 when we started this incredible journey of bringing Irena’s story to the world.”
Throughout the last 20 years, the play has been performed more than 375 times with more than 50 students involved in the project.
The performances have been all across the United States, Canada, and Poland.
The www.irenasendler.org website that the students created has had more than 50 million hits, according to the press release.
The center continues the encouragement of searching for unsung heroes.
The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes is pleased to announce the 20th Anniversary Commemoration of Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project.
On September 19 from 3:30 –5:30 p.m. at the Lowell Milken Center, 1 South Main Street in Fort Scott, there will be a special book
signing for Mommy, Who Was Irena Sendler?
Even after the story became known, that emotional connection of Irena’s story continues to reach across generations, according to the press release.
Megan’s daughter, Blair, also learned a life-changing lesson from both the courage of Irena Sendler’s selfless acts and those of
her own mother’s determination to share Irena’s story, according to the press release.
The book, available in paperback for $9.95, can be purchased and signed by the author and two of the characters featured in the story, Felt and her 9-year-old daughter, Blair.
Their goal of making Irena Sendler’s story known to the world continues.
Life in a Jar: the Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer is also available during the book signing. This is the story of the students’ discovery of Irena Sendler and her efforts to save the Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto.
Cathy Werling, the author of Mommy, Who Was Irena Sendler? is an award-winning elementary educator from Fort Scott. Her passion for helping students develop positive character traits and seek out worthy role models led to her part-time work at the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes.
Through her series of books, four so far, about these humble heroes, Cathy hopes to inspire elementary children to realize that they, too,
have the power every day to make a difference in the lives of those around them.
About the Lowell Milken Center
The Lowell Milken Center is a non-profit 501 c (3) that works with students and educators within a range of diverse academic disciplines, to develop projects focused on unsung heroes. Once their projects are finished, the center advocates for the student’s unsung heroes by sharing them in its’ Hall of Unsung Heroes or the center’s website so people all over the world discover their individual influence and obligation to take actions that improve the lives of others.
The Hall of Unsung Heroes is located in Southeast Kansas and showcases some of the top projects developed in collaboration with the center.
Burton Harding, 37, is the new attorney for the City of Fort Scott.
His duties are providing legal assistance to the Fort Scott City Commissioners.
Harding was educated at the University of Kansas Law School
and has practiced law for 10 years.
He and his wife have two children.
Burton’s date of hire for the City of Fort Scott was May 1, 2019.
Harding’s familiarity with Fort Scott helped with procuring the job.
“Of the applicants that applied for this position, we felt Burton was the one who had the most familiarity with Fort Scott and would be committed to represent the City’s legal interests and provide legal counsel to the commission and staff,” Deb Needleman, Fort Scott Human Resources Director said.
His office is located in Mound City.
“Just as our previous city attorney worked out of his own office within his legal firm, so does Burton,” Needleman said. “Burton’s office is in Mound City but he is in Fort Scott several days a week and meets with staff as needed….just as the previous city attorney did.”
Harding Law Firm, L.L.C.
223 Main St.
P.O. Box 216
Mound City, KS 66056
There is a grassroots movement across the county to help small towns stay viable.
Bourbon County has its’ own organization for encouraging small businesses.
Live Local BB started in July 2017 to raise community awareness of the benefits to using locally owned business over non-locally owned businesses, including internet businesses.
Geoff Southwell, president of Live Local BB said his businesses have experienced sales because of awareness that they are locally owned.
Southwell owns Miller Feed and Oil and The Butcher Block in Fort Scott.
“Individuals and businesses come in and specifically buy from us because we are local,” he said. “With the Butcher Block, we got some commercial accounts to have us cater, because we are local.”
“Ever since I have “joined the movement” I have really tried to “think Local First” and I think that, being able to be on the board with several other entrepreneurial folks has really brought to light how to ‘think local first'” said Chrystal Cowan, a member of the organization. “In my life I have taken it beyond the normal, everyday items- those are easy…. Get gas locally, buy groceries locally, feed, shoes, etc… the list goes on and on. Instead I now have the mindset of, how can I utilize my locals.”
She gives an example of a recent birthday party.
“We had a birthday party for my daughter a few weeks back, and I ordered pizza (and) I forgot to pickup ice cream, and really didn’t want to hassle with going to the other end of town,” Cowan said. ” I reached out to Brita at Papa Don’s (Restaurant)and she was able to sell me a tub of ice cream as well. I knew going in, that she may not have enough stock to sell me a tub, but I thought I would ask, and that particular time it worked out! Now ice cream isn’t something that Brita typically sells by the gallon, but it just so happened that her inventory allowed her an extra for me to buy. I could go on and on about how many times I have tried to come up with a way to purchase something from someone local, or called them with weird requests… but I think my point is that it may take a little bit of thinking outside of the box, but I have learned to try and just think local first.”
Cowan has been asked why she got involved with Live Local BB, since she works at a local insurance company.
” My response to that question, and my response on behalf of any of our professional services businesses is this- You can buy what I sell online, you can travel outside of the county and utilize an agent. But if you click the link and fill out the form to get a quote, are you really getting what you need? Are you going to have a person that you can call on a Sunday, or text on a Tuesday night at 10 pm, and the answer to that is, no you won’t… so why do I think that Live Local is important – every business in this town is important, and it’s important we support each other in any way that we can.”
“The numbers (facts on money benefitting the community) vary slightly depending on the study, but it’s pretty close to 60 cents of a dollar will stay in a community with a locally owned business and 40% with a non-local business,” Bryan Holt, a member of Live Local BB, said. “Retaining 50% more dollars in our community is a great thing!”
The benefits of money staying in the community include job creation, keeping the money in the local economy where it can be respent and also providing community involvement in the form of charitable giving to local organizations, according to the MSU study listed below.
Links for reference are the following provided by Holt:
” We have a desire to see the community grow and become stronger,” he said. ” We wanted to give the community a means for identifying locally owned businesses, with owners who live in Bourbon County. We have ‘Live Local’ signage placed at each business which identifies them as locally owned.”
“We feel we have made an impact on the community to use locally owned first,” Southwell said.
An unwanted visitor entered Fort Scott High School on Sept. 3.
“We did have a person in the building at the high school early, before school started, Tuesday, September 3rd,” USD 234 Superintendent Ted Hessong, said.
The person was stopped by a high school teacher who asked why the person was in the building, he said.
” One of our custodians made sure the students in the building stayed away from the person while the teacher questioned him about being in the building,” Hessong said. “The custodian also contacted another employee of ours who was headed to the high school to assist with the situation, just in case additional support was needed. This employee contacted local law enforcement to also possibly assist with the situation. Police officers escorted the person out of the building, without incident.”
The high school staff followed the plan of approaching anyone who is in the building, who is not identified as checking in the office first, to see if they need help or to direct them back to the school office to check-in, he said.
“I want to commend our high school teacher, custodian, program director, and local law enforcement for managing the situation to make sure everyone was safe in the building,” Hessong said.
A corn maze is coming in October, so add this to the family bucket list of fun things to do this fall.
Rinehart Christian Church is having a corn maze every Saturday in October (5,12,19, and 26) from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
“Other activities include: hayrides, corn pit, inflatables, fire pits, pumpkin painting, and games,” said Rinehart Church Youth Pastor Elijah Pierson. “This is a free event for the whole community, including a hot dog lunch from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. each Saturday.”
The address is 9443 S 900 Rd Richards, MO 64778.
Here are directions from Fort Scott: Take 69 Hwy. north to the Hammond exit. Then go east two miles on Soldier Rd. The road turns to the north; follow the blacktop (245th St.) to the stop sign (Valley Road); then go east. This becomes Hwy. D in Missouri. Continue on Hwy. D through Stotesbury to 900 Rd. Go South 0.5 miles to the church.
The design of the corn maze is by Precision Mazes, he said.
“We believe families are important, so we want to provide an event in the community that can be shared and enjoyed by the whole family,” Pierson said. “We know that one of the best ways we can serve God is by serving families.”
“Rinehart exists to ‘Love God, Live Like Jesus, and Lift Others’,” Pierson said “Our church is full of people of all ages and backgrounds and our members belong to many different communities including Nevada, Fort Scott, Butler, Sheldon, and many more. We welcome anyone who wishes to come worship with us at our 10:30 AM service.”
Submitted by: Lindsay Madison, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Monica Walden, Administrative Assistant, email@example.com
Phone: (620) 223-3566
FORT SCOTT – The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony celebrating the new location of Stutesman’s Action Realty at 120 East Wall Street in Fort Scott, next door to Hole In The Wall Liquor. The event will take place immediately following the Chamber Coffee on Thursday, September 12th at 8:00 a.m.
In May of 2019, Stutesman’s Action Realty entered into a long-term agreement to lease the space at 120 East Wall Street from Pat & Stacy Wood, and began the large remodeling project to convert the downstairs into new office space for their growing business in Bourbon County and the surrounding area. After approximately 3 months of renovations, Stutesman’s Action Realty is now proud to be a permanent establishment in the community. They are thrilled to invite all to stop in and check out the transformation that this early 1900’s historic building has undergone. It has been updated and modernized for doing business in the 21st century, while keeping intact aspects of the original charm and character of the historic building.
Please join the Chamber of Commerce and Stutesman’s Action Realty on Thursday, September 12th, 2019 for the ribbon cutting ceremony at 120 East Wall Street in Fort Scott.
Contact the Chamber at 620-223-3566s for more information.
A public program to start the Fort Scott Community College Centennial Celebration was one of speeches, a prayer and a song on Monday morning at the Ellis Arts Center on the campus.
Students, guests and the public were invited to hear the experiences of former students and teachers, then eat a quick hot dog lunch and some cake and cookies in celebration of the community college’s 100th year.
Speakers were FSCC President Alysia Johnston who welcomed the crowd and introduced Kansas Senator Caryn Tyson. Tyson then presented the college with a commendation from the Kansas Senate for its’ 100 years of serving the community.
The speakers at the Centennial Celebration were FSCC Vice President of Student Services Janet Fancher, retired FSCC instructor Jack Gilmore; Mark Muller, FSCC Class of 1979; Tyson; retired FSCC instructor Marcel Normand; Gina Findley Shelton, class of 1999; Jim Barrows, class of 1968 and Johnston. A letter read by Fancher from Esther Anne (Weeks) Sewell, class of 1941, who is 96 years old.
Additionally, FSCC Class of 2013 Taylor Bailey produced an introductory video, narrated by Tyler Covey, class of 2019. FSCC President’s Ambassador Hannah Reel led the flag salute and Dusty Drake, lead minister at Community Christian Church, said the closing prayer.
Following the program and lunch, the crowd was asked to stop by the tree planted in honor of the celebration near the front of the building, where a fly-by drone took an aerial photo of the group.
During the welcome FSCC President Alysia Johnston told the audience that the school was established in 1919 and is the oldest continuous public community college in Kansas.
The school, established in 1919, was originally located at the Fort Scott High School building until 1967 when it moved to the 150-acre current site, and 200 students started classes. At this time, FSCC also began offering classes in Paola, according to information provided by the college.
In 1973 the administration building was completed and was later named the Dick Hedges Administration Building.
In 1982, Arnold Arena was completed, with one side a rodeo arena and the other a basketball gym, weight training area, athletic dressing rooms, classrooms, a computer lab and athletic offices. Arnold Arena just completed a renovation of the gym in Sept. 2019.
In 1986, the college acquired the cosmetology school from Pittsburg State University and N. Jack Burris Hall was completed in 1989.
A dormitory was opened in 2002 and named Chester Boileau Hall.
In 2004, FSCC purchased and renovated the former Sisters of Mercy Convent on Burke Street for the nursing program. Also in 2004, the college remodeled a wing of the former Miami
County Hospital in Paola, which then became the FSCC Miami County Campus.
The Gordon Park Museum and Center of Diversity also was established in 2004 at FSCC to honor Fort Scott native Gordon Parks, a photographer, writer, poet, musician and filmmaker.
The Danny And Willa Ellis Family Fine Arts Center was opened in 2009 which included a 600-seat theater, community meeting rooms, the Gordon Parks Museum the Kathy Ellis Academic Hall.
The Kansas National Guard Armory was purchased in 2010 and houses the John Deer technician program and the welding program.
The cosmetology department moved to a newly remodeled space in 2014 on campus and the rodeo program opened a new rodeo building.
This year, an addition to the Burris Hall which was provided by donations from the Chester Boileau and Lonnie Cleaver estates, opened with new offices, classrooms, bathrooms, and a trophy display area for the FSCC Livestock and Meat’s Judging Teams awards.
There will be a banquet on Sept. 20 as part of the continuing celebration, and a tailgate party with free food at the Greyhound Football Game, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m.
Arnold Arena on the campus of Fort Scott Community College has undergone a renovation, replacing the gym floor, installing new bleachers, and purchasing a new scorer’s table.
This project, along with the Burris Hall expansion project, is now completed before the college-wide 100th Anniversary Celebration of FSCC which happens Sept. 20 with a public banquet and Sept. 21 with a tailgate party before the Greyhound football game.
The renovation of Arnold Arena took place because of community feedback.
“We had received numerous complaints over the past few years that there were ‘dead spots’ (on the gym floor) which was difficult to play on,” Tom Havron, FSCC Vice President of Student Affairs, said. “Additionally, our old wooden bleachers were uncomfortable to our fans and had deteriorated over the years. We had multiple boards that were broken which were a safety hazard.”
“The main benefit of the new floor will be for our student-athletes,” Havron said. ” Not only will the floor help with our recruiting process, but it will also be an advantage to have a high-quality floor to compete on.”
The arena renovation project started in early April 2019 and due to some complications, the project was just completed on September 3, 2019.
The floor and the bleachers were budgeted in the general fund, Havron said.