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.

New Organization Emphasizes Buying Locally

The audience listens to leaders of the group, Live Local BB, on Thursday.

Live Local BB is a grass-roots organization that had a public  introductory meeting Thursday at Sharkey’s Pub and Grub.

BB stands for Bourbon County and Live Local BB encourages growth of local businesses in the county.

“We want to educate the community on how it benefits the community to live locally,” Geoff Southwell told the group of interested  people. “Use local whenever possible. Money stays in the community. It’s creating and maintaining wealth and jobs”

Board member Geoff Southwell addresses a group of interested people Thursday at the initial public meeting of Live Local BB. Board member Melissa Wise listens in the background.

The group’s board members are Cindy Bartelsmeyer, Richard Goldston, Bryan Holt, Dave Lipe, Chris Maycumber, Andy Norris, Angie Simons, Southwell,  Rebecca Sutterby and Melissa Wise.

Live Local BB Board Members Rebecca Sutterby, left, and Melissa Wise, facing away, sign in interested attendees at the initial public meeting of the organization.


Live Local BB board members from left: Andy Norris, Dave Lipe, Bryan Holt, Chris Maycumber and Richard Goldston listen as Geoff Southwell addresses the attendees at the initial meeting.

Fort Scott City and Chamber of Commerce officials “have jumped on board with us,” Southwell said.

The City of Fort Scott presented a $500 check to the group  Thursday evening at the initial meeting.

To get the word out, the 65  businesses who have joined so far are encouraged to tell about their business on the local radio station.

“There will be  2 to 3 radio spots a day for the first twelve months,” Southwell said. “Talk in microphone, they will edit that. KMDO brings it together and it’s good. Volunteers are needed to get the word out.”

The group also has a Facebook page, Live Local  BB.

Live Local BB is a grass-roots organization just formed in Fort Scott to encourage residents to buy from local businesses.

U. S.69 Highway Projects Update

Construction is winding down on the highway improvement project through Fort Scott.

A construction crew of up to 10 men a day has been working on a section of U.S. Hwy. 69 that snakes through Fort Scott since April 2016.

“Hopefully, (the project) will be completed in the next two weeks,”  Bob Vipt, superintendent for Laforge and Budd Construction, Parsons, said Tuesday.

The highway improvement project extends from the driveway of Extrusions Inc. north to Briggs Fort Scott on South Main Street, he said.

The crew has added a turning lane at the intersection of National and U.S. Hwy. 69 and also at 23rd Street and U.S.Hwy.69

The intersection of U.S. Hwy. 69 and South National Avenue, Fort Scott, where new traffic lights were installed and a turning lane added  as part of a highway improvement project.

“I think these were congested intersections at times,” Vipt said.

Newly installed traffic lights and a turning lane at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 69 and 23rd Street in Fort Scott.

Also included in the construction project paid for with federal, state and city funds are:

  • two new stop lights
  • new storm drains on the east and replaced storm drains on the west side
  • new curb and guttering
  • New curb, guttering and storm drains recently installed on U.S. Hwy. 69, also known as South Main Street in Fort Scott.
  • new sidewalks
  • A new sidewalk lines the west side of U.S. Hwy. 69/South Main Street in Fort Scott.
  • new asphalt surface
  • new striping down the middle
  • new landscape sod

To be completed are the new  surface with roadway striping and also placing sod along both sides of U.S.Hwy. 69 adjacent to the project.

Laforge and Budd Construction is the general contractor, RFB Construction, Pittsburg, is a subcontractor on the project.

Highway expansion south of Fort Scott

Construction crews are also busy expanding a six-mile section of U.S. Hwy. 69 south of Fort Scott and north of Arma.

The section is being upgraded to an expressway, which is a four-lane highway but with access points.

This project was started in March 2017 and is scheduled for completion in November 2018, according to Priscilla Peterson, a Kansas Department of Transportation Public Affairs Manager.

RFB Construction workers were on site Tuesday in Fort Scott, working on the turn lanes..


Riverfront Park Pavillion Coming Spring 2018

Members of Fort Scott Bourbon County Riverfront Authority discuss updates on construction projects at Riverfront Park Tuesday evening at the Carriage House. Clockwise from left: Danny Magee, Bob Love, Allen Warren, Jerry Witt and Jeff Sweetser.

As part of the ongoing Riverfront Park project on North National Avenue in Fort Scott, a 30-foot by 50-foot pavilion will be available for public use next spring.

Schenkel Contracting, Fort Scott, will construct the building which will arrive in late October from Lester Building Systems of Minnesota.

“It will be a wooden frame, with commercial scissor trusses, with a steel roof and gable ends,” Schenkel said. “It’s an open concept. It will have electricity and lights.”

The pavilion will be located east of the parking area just inside Riverfront Park in the Belltown Trail area, north of the Marmaton River.

The Riverfront Park parking lot. The new pavilion will be east of this site.

Members of the Fort Scott Bourbon County  Riverfront Authority met Tuesday evening at their regular monthly meeting to discuss this and other items upcoming in the park.

The board envisions this pavilion use for family gatherings or public concerts/meetings, according to Jerry Witt, chairman of the authority board.

The new pavilion will sit amidst the trees east of the parking lot.

The authority board has overseen the $2.2 million project, paid for with no taxpayer money, according to Jeff Sweetser, secretary/treasurer of the group, since 2007.

Reimbursements from Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism were received in the amount of $20,114.02 for expenses on the pavilion and the overlook walkway. The City of Fort Scott provided in-kind labor for the park, which is an 80/20 cost split grant from KWPT.

The overlook will be a  wooden, pentagon-shaped walkway which will be at the intersection of the Marmaton River and Mill Creek in the park. Westar Energy is supplying recycled electric power poles for the overlook construction.

The authority board approved the overlook design from Brian Leaders Design, and discussed adding seating to the overlook walkway.

In other business, the authority board:

  • Discussed where information kiosks will be located.
  • Was updated on the Mercy Hospice Memorial area, to be located in a wooded section of the park near the river.  It will be circular with benches.
  • Learned that the Long Shoals Bridge bid-letting will start in December. The historic Parker Truss Bridge located in northeast Bourbon County will be relocated and restored over the Marmaton River in Riverfront Park.


New Face At Mercy: Amanda Stice

Mercy Clinic staff in Fort Scott welcomed Amanda Stice on August 5, 2017 as a new nurse practitioner.

As a registered nurse, Stice decided to take on a bigger role in patient care and went on to become a family nurse practitioner.

Specializing in family medicine, she is board certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and earned  her master’s degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, according to a press release from Mercy.

She offers routine health care, management of chronic diseases, wellness exams, well woman exams, sports and school physicals, vaccinations and immunizations, treatment of minor illness and injuries and more.

Experiences in her practice have created many rewarding moments, Stice said.

“These experiences are what keep  me passionate about my career and role in my patient’s health,” she said.

Previously, she worked for nearly six years at University of Kansas Hospital as a registered nurse in acute care units.

After earning her master’s degree, she worked in urgent care in Independence, transitioning into primary care at the same location.

She and her husband live in Fort Scott with their two children.

Stice will see patients at Mercy Clinic Suite A, located in the hospital.

To make an appointment, call (620) 223-8040.



Student Zoe Self Wins Big

Zoe Self reacts to the surprise announcement that she is a winner of the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes 2017 Discovery Award.

Local Fort Scott High School student Zoe Self was the recipient of an award that gifted her with $7,500 in unrestricted funds Friday.

Prior to the announcement, students and staff gathered in the school’s media room, where Lowell Milken told the audience that the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes “considers ourselves incubators of history.”

The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes Discovery Award is an international competition that awards creative projects highlighting role models whose positive impact on history remains largely unnoticed.

Self created a performance which depicted the story of Lilla Day Monroe.

Monroe was a Topeka-based suffragette who advocated for women’s rights. She established and edited The Club Woman and The Kansas Woman’s Journal. In addition, she served as the president of the Kansas State Suffragette Association.

“Lilla Day Monroe was the first female lawyer in Kansas,” Self told the audience. “She helped pass the Nineteenth Amendment…she was determined to  effect change by working through the court system. She was an incredible woman.”

“This unsung hero project changed my life,” she said.

Fort Scott High School staff along with Lowell Milken Center staff pose with Discovery Award recipient Zoe Self. From left are FSHS Principal Shawn Thomas, Lowell Milken, Self, LMC Program Director Megan Felt, USD 234 Superintendent Bob Beckham, FSHS Gifted Instructor Angie Kemmerer and LMC Director Norm Conard.


Fort Scott High School students and staff listen to Lowell Milken preceding the surprise announcement of Zoe Self’s winning the Discovery Award.

In the Discovery Award process, students in fourth through twelfth grades are invited to use their creative talents to develop projects that feature people from history who demonstrate that one person can make a positive change in the world. Projects can take the form of documentary/multimedia, performance or website. Projects must show potential for the ability to inspire people to take sustainable actions that carry out the legacies of their subjects, according to an LMC press release.