All posts by Loretta George

Area Artists Exhibit At Ellis Art Center

Juror Tera Schultz holds a piece of artwork prior to the exhibit, in an effort to photograph the art without environmental light reflection. The piece is entitled “Young Soul, Seared Heart”  is by Jezeriah Simpson and was awarded second place in the drawing and graphics category.
Tera Schultz, Iola, tells the attendees why this piece was chosen best of the show for the 26th Annual Fine Arts Exhibit and Sale Wednesday evening. Shultz was the juror for the event.
Deb Halsey left, and Deb Anderson, right, discuss the artwork they are helping to prepare for display at the Bourbon County Art Council’s Annual Fine Arts Exhibit and Sale.

The Bourbon County Arts Council’s 26th Annual Fine Arts Exhibit and Sale has grown over the years, according to the judge who picked the winners.

Schultz judged about four years ago she said.

“There is a lot more artwork this time, 125 pieces,” Schultz said. “Last time it was 80ish pieces.”

This year is a bigger variety as well, she said.

Schultz said she looks for composition, color techniques, and technical skills when she judges art.

This year she felt like the jewelry pieces “were really beautifully done, they were amazing,” she said.

The exhibit continues from noon to 7 p.m. through March 9 at the Ellis Fine Art Center on the campus of Fort Scott Community College, 2108 S. Horton.

Featured below are the first and second place winners of the exhibit.

First place ceramics, Al Letner, Pittsburg.
Second place ceramics, Bobbie Kemna, Fort Scott.


First place sculpture, Kenzie Curran, Farlington.
Second place sculpture, Maxine Rader, Lamar, Mo.
First place mixed media, Robert Schlyer, Rich Hill, Mo.
Second place watercolor, Anita Wilson, Thayer.
First place watercolor, Jake Marshall, Overland Park.
Best of the show, 2-dimension, Carol Melton, Lamar, Mo.
First place drawing and graphics, Irene Schomacker, Spring Hill.
Second place mixed media, Lonny Vaughn Matlock, Girard.
Best of show jewelry, Chris Page, Fort Scott.
First place pastel, Chance Fuhrman, Bronson.
Second place jewelry, Barbara Gibson, Fort Scott.
First place jewelry, John Bartelsmeyer, Fort Scott.
First place photography, Linda Teeter, Carl Junction, Mo.
Second place pastel, Douglas Linthicum, Lamar, Mo.
Artist Kole Wagner stands in front of his winning submission to the art exhibit, which earned second place in photography.

Pictured below are some glimpses of artwork submitted to the exhibition by area artists.

The attendees listen as Juror Tera Shultz gives justification of the winners she selected in the exhibit.

The following are corporate prize sponsors: Mr. and Mrs. Richard Goldston, Landmark Bank,  City State Bank,  McDonald’s Restaurant, Union State Bank, H & R Block, H & H Realty, Fort Scott Broadcasting, Bernita Hill, Ward Kraft. The best of show prize is awarded in honor of E. C. Gordon.

Juror Tera Schultz is the fine arts instructor at Allen County Community College, Iola.


Meals On Wheels, A Collaboration

Bourbon County Senior Citizens Center, 26 N. Main.

Meals on Wheels in Bourbon County delivers a lunch to 45 households Monday through Thursday.

The service is for people 60 years and older.

“There are no income guidelines,” Jackie Sellers, site manager of Bourbon County Senior Citizens, said. “There is a suggested donation of $1 per meal.”

There are two driving routes that take approximately 45 minutes to deliver the meals.

Each Wednesday a frozen meal is delivered with the hot meal, which can be consumed on Friday.

At 9:30 a.m. each Meals on Wheels day, volunteers gather to divide and pack up the meals that are supplied through the Southeast Kansas Area Agency on Aging, Pittsburg. The meals are then delivered in a local vehicle.

Snowy or icy weather can prevent the van full of food from Pittsburg to arrive, Sellers said.

“People have to watch on TV for cancellations,” Sellers said. “It’s referred to as Senior Meals.”

Deb Needleman, treasurer of the Bourbon County Senior Citizens said the United Way of Bourbon County grant money received goes to the Meals on Wheels part of the Bourbon County Senior Citizens budget.

“The expense of meal preparation is $30,000,” Needleman said. The United Way funds 30 percent of our budget for Meals on Wheels.”

The Southeast Kansas Area Agency on Aging provides oversight for Meals on Wheels, Sellers said.

The  SEKAAA Executive Director is Cindy Lane, who can be reached at 620-431-2980.

Mary Ada, Priscilla Sellers, and Ackland Milton prepare the meals to be delivered to 45 area residents over 60 years old.
Jacquline Sellers, the site manager at Bourbon County Senior Citizens center, places a quart of milk in a cooler to deliver with Meals on Wheels lunches.


Tri-Valley Developmental Services workers Kylee Thomas and Karesa Sworde transport TVDS clients Greg McGee and Chris Hutchison to help out on the delivery of Meals on Wheels lunches.


Legislators Answer Questions

From left: Kansas District 12 State Senator Richard Hilderbrand (R), and District 4, Representative Trevor Jacobs (R) listen as District 12 State Senator Caryn Tyson (R) gives remarks at the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Legislative Coffee. At right is event moderator Mark McCoy. Not pictured is District 2 Representative Adam Lusker (D), who was late to the event.

Legislators gave answers to questions posed to them at Mercy Hospital’s Catherine Cafe Saturday morning during a legislative coffee sponsored by the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce.

Senator Richard Hilderbrand, Representative Trevor Jacobs, Representative Adam Lusker and Senator Caryn Tyson sat as a panel and received questions from the moderator,Chamber Member Mark McCoy and also questions from the audience.

Richard Hilderbrand is the Kansas District 13 Senator from Galena. He can be reached at 785-296-7370 or

State Senator Richard Hilderbrand converses with the audience following the legislative coffee Saturday.

The following are excerpts from Hilderbrand’s answers to questions posed to the legislators on current issues.

On education, Senator Hilderbrand clarified in a later interview ” My position on restoring Higher Ed. funding is we need to prioritize all of our commitments that have been cut, and not to add any other new items to fund. We need to work on restoring cuts before adding anything new.”

Support of bill lowering the sexual consent age to 11 years of age:  “Absolutely not.”

School safety:  “It’s a heart issue, no law will fix hate.”

Community college funding:  “I haven’t heard anything at the state level.”

Poultry operations: “There were no existing statutes, so this puts some in place for rights….and kept local control.”

KanCare: “When they budgeted it was only for the initial cost….not maintaining…now they have to come back and raise fees.”

Convention of states: “I would not support that.”

Transportation: “For 2019, the finishing of Fort Scott to Pittsburg Highway 69 seems to be the mood.”

Parting remarks: “It’s important to have this interaction with constituents. If there are any issues, contact us.”

Trevor Jacobs is the District 4 Representative from Fort Scott. He can be reached at 785-296-7616 or

State Representative Trevor Jacobs listens to constituents following the legislative coffee Saturday morning at Mercy Hospital.

The following are excerpts from Jacobs answers to questions posed to the legislators.

Education funding: “No more expansion of higher education.”

Support of bill lowering the sexual consent age to 11 years of age: “I would not.”

School safety:  “One of the 10 Commandments is ‘Thou shalt not kill’.  We need to address the root of the problem. We need a revolution of family and education.”

Property tax: “I’m not into raising taxes.”

Marijuana decriminalization: “I’m not in favor..we have enough problems.”

Convention of states: No

Transportation:  (Rep. Jacobs in a later interview stated)”I am on the House Transportation Committee. I was never told any date, it doesn’t look like Hwy. 69 is budgeted.”

Parting remarks: “I was able to introduce a Choose Life (car) license plate. Lord willing, they will pass, to show life is valuable.”

Rep. Adam Lusker speaks with a constituent following the legislative coffee Saturday morning.

District 2  Representative Adam Lusker (D) resides in Frontenac and can be reached at 785-296-7698 or

The following are excerpts from Luskers’s answers to questions posed to the legislators.

Lusker was late to the coffee event, therefore did not answer some of the questions, explaining he misunderstood the begin time.

KanCare: “KanCare is problematic.”

DCF: “Deals with tough situations.”

Marijuana decriminalization:  “There is no legislation on either side for recreational marijuana. CDB oil passed for epilepsy but never came to fruition. We are a long way from legalizing in Kansas.”

Convention of states: “I would be opposed to a convention of states.”

Transportation: “Highway 69 in late 2019 will be completed. There is a $50-55 million budget. It will be on the front burner of the next transportation incentives for Bourbon County.

Parting remarks:”It’s a pleasure to serve you. I don’t align with these individuals (legislative colleagues)  on a lot of issues, but they are very good people. We work together for the best of Kansas.”

Senator Caryn Tyson listens to a constituent following the legislative coffee sponsored by the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce.

Senator Caryn Tyson (R) represents Kansas District 4. She resides in Parker and can be reached at 785-296-6838 or

Tyson said she is also running for U.S. Congress to replace Lynn Jenkins, who is retiring.

The following are excerpts from Tyson’s answers following questions posed to the legislators.

Education: “Over 60 percent of the state budget goes to k-12 and higher education…We have obligations for education but have other obligations. Schools can we do it better, can we do it smarter? We need to ask, is it a need or want.”

Support of bill lowering the sexual consent age to 11 years of age: “I would not vote to support that bill.”

School safety: “The hall talk is teachers to take training.”

Community college funding: “We have demonstrated our priority…60 percent of our budget is in education.”

Poultry operations: “The whole community should have input on their coming in.”

KanCare: “The legislature did not decide on that, the administration did. KanCare was pushed into the State of Kansas without legislation. We have to make sure our contracts are understood.”

DCF: “There are a lot of problems. (However) We have a new secretary.”

Marijuana decriminalization: “The issue is dosage control. There is no way to control. Kansas has lessened the laws for marijuana.

Convention of states: “It (the U.S. Constitution) is not a perfect document. Women wouldn’t be able to vote without constitutional amendments.”

Transportation: “Highway 69 will be completed.”

Parting remarks: “We are a citizen legislature. When we make decisions we need to know who we are impacting.”











Middle School Technology Class Tour

Fort Scott Middle School Technology Teacher Adam Feagins explains the three-dimensional printer to an attendee of the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce weekly coffee Thursday.

Learning is hands-on in Mr. Feagins technology classes.

Attendees of the weekly coffee coordinated by the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce took a tour of the career technology education class Thursday.

Adam Feagins is the instructor of the classes: Intro to technology,
Pre-Engineering, 6th Grade Technology, 7th Grade technology, and
8th Grade Technology.

USD 234 Curriculum Director Nicki Traul  told the Chamber attendees that Feagins classes are popular among students.

“The goal is to teach the students basic technology concepts,” Feagins said in a later interview.  “Once they learn the concepts they have to use the knowledge in some type of project.”

The following photos are some of the students working on projects in the classroom.

Eighth-grade students Ashlynn Bagnall and Shawn Barrager press a vinyl pattern piece on a t-shirt in Feagins technology class Thursday.
Eighth-grade students Grant Feagins, left, and Bobby Kemmerer, right explain their rolling robot project to Fort Scott Chamber Member John Hill during the tour of the classroom Thursday morning. They are timing how fast the robot can go.
Eighth-grade students Amanda Emmerson and Kerragan Davis paint a background as part of their Rube Goldberg Project. A marble will start at one point and set in motion a domino effect with the end result watering of a live plant.
Teachers in USD 234 School have a poster of their education process posted near their classroom door. This is Adam Feagins.

Middle School Flex Room Has Many Benefits

Fort Scott Middle School Principal Brian Weilert welcomes guests of the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce weekly coffee to the school Thursday morning.

Fort Scott Middle School Principal Brian Weilert spoke to the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Weekly Coffee social Thursday at the school.

An important purpose of the building is safety during tornados.

“We can fit 650 people in this space,” Weilert said. “We can get the student body in here in four minutes.”

The building was constructed of concrete with minimal windows for student safety.

But the school uses what is referred to as “flex space”, for other purposes, Weilert said. “There is a community space, an art gallery, and breakout rooms.”

The brightly painted and colorfully decorated large building can be divided easily for different purposes. It is located on the south side of the school

“This space encourages creativity and it’s good to get out of class once in a while, to change environments,” Weilert said.

The newly constructed space was added to the school in 2017 as part of a district-wide building improvement project.

USD 234 Business Manager Gina Shelton shows the community room that is available for organizations in the community to use. The room is located in the high wind building, completed in 2017 and has innovative technology.

Pictured below are members of the community who congregated in small groups before the announcement segment of the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Weekly Coffee.

During the coffee event, members can tell about upcoming community events or organizations for a $1 donation, which goes to fund the town trolley car.

At the conclusion of the weekly coffee, the host organization/business/school/church gets a platform to tell about the events or projects that are currently happening.

This is the dedication plaque that was placed in the community room of the new high wind building, completed in 2017.

Old Tribune Building Being Gutted

Michael Barnard, working for Walker Construction and Demolition, points to the brick sections on the building at Wall Street and National Avenue, that will be converted back to the original storefronts, he said.

Workers were doing demolition on the building located at 9 S. National Avenue Wednesday, known as the old Tribune building.

Michael Barnard and members of the Yoder family were”gutting”  down to the floor and wall, Barnard said.

The crew was hired by Walker Construction and Demolition, Barnard said.

Jennifer LaRoche is the owner of the building, since early 2017.

In a later interview, LaRoche said the demolition is part of the “cleaning up” of the historic building at Wall Street and National Avenue, “so we can see what we got”.

“We still have lots of ideas,” for the building, she said.

A member of the Yoder family works on the demolition of the building at 9 S. National Avenue that most recently housed the Fort Scott Community College Cosmetology School. The school was a section of the Tribune building.


Host Families Needed For Students

DeAnn Welch started the Adopt-A-Greyhound program eight years ago at Fort Scott Coummunity College because of a need she perceived.

In her job as FSCC  Student Success Center Director and Tutoring and Testing Administrator  see saw students coming to college from other distant states.

“They come here not knowing anyone,” Welch said. ” Some even come here on a one way bus ticket in hopes of playing football and getting away from a life that they could have ended up dead.  It is a sad situation.”

She had an idea.

“I thought, why not place these kids with local families who can give them that home away from home,” she said.

“The families can have this student over for dinner, go to their games if they are athletes, and simply be a support system.”

The program has had many success stories, she said.

“Some families still keep in touch with their student and even travel to see their games when they advance to the next level.  It truly has developed many lifelong friendships,” Welch said.

For more information, contact Welch at 620-223-2700, ext. 4300 or


Bourbon County 4-H Fair, A United Way Agency

FortScott.Biz is doing a series on the agencies that receive funding through United Way of Bourbon County.

The following is an interview with Diane Brillhart, treasurer of Bourbon County 4-H Fair.

Who is the contact person along with phone number?

Dale Griffiths – 620-215-3101

What service do you provide to our community?

“We provide a venue and structure for holding the annual county fair.  The County Fair is a place for our local kids to exhibit the projects they have been working on and teach others about things they have learned.  Our venue is also available for others in the community to hold events and activities.”

How many people are served?

“Everyone in the community can benefit from our facility.”

What percentage of your budget is the United Way Grant?

“Five percent.”

Who are the board members?

President Dale Griffiths, Vice-Pres. Mark Crystal,                                        Secretary  Lynda Foster, Assist. Secretary David Foster,                     Treasurer  Diane Brillhart, Assist. Treasurer Mark Brillhart, Merchant Superintendent Allen Warren,  Grandstand Superintendent  Stewart Gulager and Assistant Grandstand Superintendent Mark Leatherman.

United Way is primarily funded through donations from local businesses when employees agree to donate an amount through payroll deductions.

Gina Shelton, president of United Way of Bourbon County said the cost of a purchased soft drink, one dollar if it was payroll deducted by many people, would help the agency meet its 2018 Campaign goal of $50,000.



SEKRS, Respite For Caregivers

Southeast Kansas Respite Services worker Kathy Ogle visits with a client.

FortScott.Biz is providing a series featuring each  United Way of Bourbon County agency in the coming weeks.

United Way is primarily funded through donations from local businesses when employees agree to donate an amount through payroll deductions.

Gina Shelton, president of United Way of Bourbon County said the cost of a purchased soft drink, one dollar if it was payroll deducted by many people, would help the agency meet its 2018 Campaign goal of $50,000.

Diane Salyers is the contact for Southeast Kansas Respite Services (SEKRS) and she provided the answers in the following interview with She can be reached at

What service do you provide Bourbon County residents?

“SEKRS was organized to give parents/ family caregivers a rest or break from the constant care that is often required by a child, adult family member, or senior with special needs.  It is very difficult to find persons willing to assume the added responsibility of caring for someone with special needs. SEKRS hires individuals to go into the home and stay with the individual with special needs so the family caregiver can get away.”

“Our goal is to strengthen families and keep them together by giving them a break from the constant care and added stress families of individuals with special needs face on a daily basis.   Family caregivers need to know their loved ones are being cared for by skilled and competent caregivers. SEKRS provides that care.”

What are your service hours?

“Our office hours are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, but our services can be at any time, including nights and weekends.”

What is your local address?

“We are located t 2601 Gabriel, Parsons KS 67357 and we cover the nine counties of Southeast Kansas.”

What percentage of your budget is the United Way grant?

“We requested $500 which is 10 percent of our budget.”

Who are your board members?

SEKRS Board of Directors  2017-2018

Scott Thompson -Chairperson

Director CLASS LTD

PO Box 266

Columbus, KS  66725


Tim Cunningham

Director Tri-Valley Developmental Services

PO Box 518

Chanute, KS  66720


Mike Dixon Acting Superintendent, Parsons State Hospital and Training

PO Box 738

Parsons, KS   67357


Matt Atteberry-Secretary

Director Labette Center for Mental Health Services

PO Box 258

Parsons, KS   67357


Dave Lindeman-Treasurer

Director University of Kansas Life Span at Parsons

PO Box 738

Parsons, KS  67357


Cindy Lane

Director Area Agency on Aging

PO Box J

Chanute, KS  66720