All posts by Loretta George

Discover StoryWalk

The panel sign for StoryWalk at the corner of 2nd Street and National Avenue. Families will look for and read each panel to complete the book.


Walking, talking, reading and learning:  StoryWalk.

The program, StoryWalk, is a collaborative public offering for families of young children to help with reading skills, develop relationship skills, have a physically active, outdoors experience together and also help children understand about how money works, according to Joy Miller with Kansas State University Research and Extension.

Fort Scott Public Library and K-State collaborated on the family reading program, with Mercy Hospital providing some sponsorship.

Starting Monday, October 2, families could go to the library at 201 S. National Avenue to begin StoryWalk. A different story each week will be featured until the end of the program Oct. 29.

At a time convenient for family walking, families start at the ground level door on the north side of the library. They proceed counterclockwise walking around the block from Second Street to National Avenue to Third Street to Main Street, then back to the library.

They look for panels with featured book pages.  Families read the panel, talk about the story and move to the next panel.

Each Monday a new book for young children will be featured and panels are left up for a week, giving families a chance for a convenient time for the StoryWalk.

The theme of the month-long StoryWalk is helping children manage money and in the process encourage families to walk together, Valetta Canon,  youth librarian at the public library, said.

Last year, the library had a story walk during a reading program.

“It’s an enjoyable way of learning,” Canon said.

“I was approached by Joy Miller of Southwind Extension Office to see if the library would like to collaborate to incorporate a story walk this year,” Canon said.

For those who want to use technology on the StoryWalk, each panel will have a code that is scanned with a smartphone or Ipad or one can log on to

But a technology device is not necessary to StoryWalk, Miller said.

Featured books will be “Just Shopping With Mom” by Mercer Mayer, “Tia Isa Wants a Car” by Meg Medina, “Count on Pablo” by Barbara deRubertis and “Lemonade in Winter” by E. Lockhart.

Miller can be reached at 620-223-3720. Canon can be reached at 620-223-2882.

Fort Scott Public Library Youth Director Valetta Canon shows the panel outside the north entrance to the library which tells about StoryWalk.
K-State Extension Agent Joy Miller tells about the StoryWalk panels that will be placed around the block of the public library from  Oct. 2 to Oct. 29.

What Makes Fort Scott Special?

Gordon Parks Museum

Non-professional Bourbon County photographers of all ages are invited to submit a photo as part of the Gordon Parks  Celebration, by Wednesday, Oct. 4.

The photo must be inspired by Park’s poem “Homecoming” and entitled “What Makes Fort Scott Special to Me”, according to a press release from the Gordon Parks Museum.

Monetary prizes of first place, $100; second place, $75 and third place, $50. All photos submitted will be on exhibit during the 14th Annual Gordon Parks Celebration, Oct. 12-14.

Photos must be submitted via email to  The file size has a limit of 2MB and must be in JPEG format. Name, address, email and phone number along with the title of their submitted photo must accompany the photo. If under 10 years of age, please include parents information.

It is the photographer’s responsibility to make sure permission is granted to use the photos subject’s image.

For more information email or call 620-223-2700, ext. 5850.

Ninety-nine New Americans

Jane Njeri Lifer smiles following the U.S. Naturalization Proceedings Friday at Fort Scott National Historic Site.  In her hand is the certificate of naturalization.
One-by-one, new citizens were introduced to the audience.

Ninety-nine people from various nations were part of the U.S. Naturalization Proceedings Friday at Fort Scott National Historic Site.

During the hour ceremony, the group swore an oath of allegiance to their new country,  were introduced one-by-one to the audience, listened to speakers, were entertained by musicians, and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Members of Fort Scott High School orchestra, band and choir sing “America” during the naturalization ceremony.
Local Attorney Larry Nuss was one of the several speakers during the ceremony.

In the end, a certificate of citizenship and mementos were distributed to each of the ninety-nine new citizens.

The new citizens were invited to register to vote and enjoy a lunch provided by the Friends of Fort Scott National Historic Site.

A bird’s eye view of voter registration following the naturalization ceremony. The League of Women Voters, Johnson County, provided the resources for the registration.
New American citizens enjoy lunch provided by the Friends of Fort Scott National Historic Site in the Grand Hall.

“It was surprisingly emotional,” Sarah Lehman, Pittsburg, said of the proceedings. “We were here to support people from our church.”

Fort Scott Livestock Market: Over 100,000 Cattle Sold Last Year

Fort Scott Livestock Market is the fourth largest in Kansas, according to owner Larry Martin.

Four generations of Martins work in the Fort Scott Livestock Market, Larry Martin said following the Chamber of Commerce Coffee  Thursday morning.

Jim, Larry’s dad, along with Tyler and Kyle, Larry’s sons, are the owners and managers of the business at 2131 Maple Road.

Now Tyler and Kyle’s kids work there too.

Gabby and Addy Martin help their grandmother, Deb Martin, in the office and Andrew and Eli Martin help where needed during the livestock auction sales that happen on Friday and Saturday.

Larry Martin speaks to attendees of the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce weekly coffee.

Larry Martin said 60 to 70 people are working the sales on those two busiest days. There are 10 full-time employees.

“Last year we sold over 100,000 cattle,” Larry Martin told the Chamber Coffee attendees. “And about $10 million total dollars in sales. That puts money back into the community. Farmers will spend money on equipment.”

Martin told the attendees that the business is the fourth largest livestock market in the state.

The Martins leased the sale barn facility for 15 years and purchased it two years ago, he said.

They put up fences and added pens, he said

Martin thanked the Bourbon County Commission for the newly improved roadway in front of the business.

“We have the best road in Bourbon County,” he laughed.

Upcoming events at the market:

Equipment auction, 10 a.m. Oct. 19. Equipment can be brought to the site that morning and checked in.

Livestock Auctioneer’s Auction, 10 a.m., Oct. 14. KAA membership and Kansas Livestock Market Endorsement required.

FSCC Budget and Updates

Fort Scott Community College Bailey Hall.

Fort Scott Community College fall semester is in full force, and recently the administration approved the school’s budget.

FSCC Finance Director Julie Eichenberger provided Fort Scott Biz with information which was approved following a public hearing on August 14.

Information provided is on expenditures, leases/purchases, and tax rates.

Major expenditures in the budget are technical education and auxiliary expenditures.

Post-secondary technical education expenditures are for ” all the classes considered tech education,”  Eichenberger said.   “Those would be nursing/allied health/EMT, John Deere, construction trades, cosmetology, welding, Harley Davidson, agriculture.”

Total for this line item in the budget is $3,294,586.

For auxiliary expenditures – the dorm, cafeteria, and bookstore, the line item is budgeted for $2,073,486.

The cafeteria is an auxiliary budget item.

$8,458,958 are current funds unrestricted in the general fund.

To see the full summary, see the link:

FSCC Budget 2017-2018

The tax rate has stayed about the same, according to FSCC President Alysia Johnston.

Eichenberger provided Fort Scott Biz with the recent history of the mill levy and the statement of condition lease, lease purchase and certification of participation.

Cosmetology equipment, the environmental lease (formerly Chevron), the City of Fort Scott, Ellis Fine Arts Center, the baseball scoreboard, and the John Deere Building are all line items in the statement provided below in the link.

Lease Info & Mill levy history

In addition, Johnston provided student enrollment information.

The full-time student headcount at the college is 1,792 for 2017 fall semester.

“About even from last year,”  Johnston said Wednesday.

Tuition waiver for Bourbon County residents

Fort Scott Community College has expanded its tuition waiver for Bourbon County residents who wish to take classes at the Fort Scott campus or online, according to a press release from  the college. FSCC will waive the tuition costs, up to fifteen credit hours, for any Bourbon County resident who enrolls at FSCC. Students will be responsible for covering fees and purchasing books.

FSCC students can take general education classes for transfer to a four-year institution or pursue a certificate or associate degree. FSCC offers 55 courses that are guaranteed by the Kansas Board of Regents to transfer to any public college or university in the state of Kansas.

To apply for the waiver, students should contact the FSCC Admissions Department at 620-223-2700, ext. 3520 or ext. 3530. Students must also complete a Bourbon County Tuition Waiver Form and return it to the Admissions Department prior to the start of the semester.







Fort Scott Munitions Consolidating Name

Fort Scott Munitions is located at 523 E. Wall, just east of U.S.69 Highway.

To cut down on confusion when the public would search online for their business, Fort Scott Munitions is deleting the storefront name and will be using the business name only.

“We are consolidating the product name and the store name under one name,” Phillip Edds, assistant manager, said.

This will require new billboards and a new metal sign to replace Velocity Tactics signs on the outside of the old Key Industries building at 523 E. Wall just off U.S. 69 Highway.

Velocity Tactics was the storefront name, the business name is Fort Scott Munitions.

“We went with Fort Scott Munitions since all the (product) boxes say that,” Edds said.

Ammunition is their specialty.

“We make solid copper and solid brass ammunition,” Edds said.

The business is under the auspices of Ward Kraft, Inc. a Fort Scott print manufacturer.

Ryan Kraft, son of owner Roger Kraft,  “was an avid gun guy,” Edds said. “It was his interest.”

Five years ago the business started making ammunition.

One-and-one-half years ago a store was opened to sell that ammunition and expanded to sell other items as well.

The business sells guns, clothing, tactical items, coolers and Angus beef, Edds said.

Customer Henry Fleeman, right, purchases some Angus beef Monday at Fort Scott Munitions. Assistant Manager Phillip Edds is behind the cash register.

“We have plans to open an indoor gun range,” Edds said. “And in the future offer training for conceal and carry classes.”

The old grain silos on the business property have no plans currently, Edds said.

“There are some talks, but nothing in the works at this time,” he said.

There are no current plans for using the silo on the property of Fort Scott Munitions.
Frozen KW Cattle Angus Beef is sold at Fort Scott Munitions.


Clothing and other hunting items are sold at the store.
Fort Scott Munitions consolidated product and store name because of online confusion.

Need Business Space? The City Will Help

Looking north from First Street onto Main Street. Seven storefronts in a row are vacant.

The City of Fort Scott is working to fill the historic downtown area, through a new grant for businesses.

Incentives are in place for business owners with buildings, but a need was seen for businesses who want to lease space in the historic district.

New Business Downtown Grant

“The city has a downtown improvement grant that’s used quite a bit,” Fort Scott Economic Development Director Rachel Pruitt said. “But to fill occupancy downtown, we needed something to lease space within the historic district. So we went to BEDCO (Bourbon County Economic Development Council) with a proposal to incent new businesses to open…whether they lease or own.”

To be eligible properties must be in the downtown area and must be a new business since May 1, 2017.

The applicant may receive a one-time grant of up to $500 per each new business.

“They are going to do 10 grants a year,” Pruitt said.

BEDCO has dedicated $5,000 a year for this program and will evaluate it on an annual basis to see if changes are needed.

Applications can be submitted online to or in person at city hall, 123 S. Main. After review, the applicant will be notified within 30 days.

Pictured below are some of the Main Street and Wall Street properties that are vacant in the historic district of Fort Scott.

The Downtown Building Improvement Grant, a previous city improvement grant, is an incentive to help owners with the financial burden of maintaining and improving structures in the downtown historic district.

To be eligible for this grant all taxes, fees and other debts owed to the city need to be up-to-date. Grants will be made for a maximum of two buildings calendar year, per owner.

Improvements can include: electrical, plumbing, windows, doors, heating/air conditioning, historic renovation and rehabilitation, safety, energy efficiency, structural, code footprint or building inspections.

Grant monies will fund 50 percent of a qualifying improvement project, up to the amount of a building’s current annual property tax, with funding at 100 percent for building inspection or code footprint costs.

The grant needs to be applied for before any construction begins.

If successful, the improvement project must start within 30 days and be completed within 12 months of the grant pre-approval date.

When completed, grant money will be disbursed to the grant applicant.

For more information contact the city at (620) 223-0550 or Pruitt at

All but two businesses on the west side of Main Street between Wall and First Street are vacant.