Category Archives: Area News

Evergy Participates in Utility Scam Awareness Week 

 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Nov. 19, 2019 – Evergy is standing with more than 100 utility companies throughout North America this week in support of the fourth annual Utility Scam Awareness Week. Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) promotes this week each year to educate consumers and small business owners about the tactics scammers use to attack consumers.

 

“Evergy is uniting in this effort to ensure our customers know the signs of a scam and avoid being duped by con artists,” said Jeff Beasley, Evergy vice president, customer operations. “We want to help keep people from falling prey to any malicious fraud schemes regarding utilities.”

 

Evergy offers these safety tips for customers:

  • Verify the person you’re engaging is with Evergy by asking to see company identification or by calling the Customer Contact Center before giving credit card, debit card, Social Security, ATM, checking or savings account numbers to anyone who comes to your home, calls, text and/or sends an email requesting this information about your utility bill. If you can’t verify that you’re speaking with an Evergy employee, do not give them this information.
  • Be suspicious if you receive an email about your utility bill if you have not requested online communications from Evergy.
  • For customers using Evergy’s online bill pay system, always make online payments directly through evergy.com.
  • Never provide personal information via email or click any suspicious links.

Signs of a potential scam include:

  • Threat to disconnect: Scammers may aggressively tell the customer his or her utility bill is past due and service will be disconnected – usually within an hour – if a payment is not made.
  • Request for immediate payment: Scammers may instruct the customer to buy a prepaid card – widely available at retail stores – then call them back supposedly to make a bill payment.
  • Request for prepaid card: When the customer calls back, the caller asks the customer for the prepaid card’s number, which grants the scammer instant access to the card’s funds, and the victim’s money is gone.

The phone scammer is often a live person posing as an Evergy employee who notifies the customer of a past due bill and demands immediate payment to avoid service disconnection. Scammers also can manipulate the caller ID to look like the company phone number. In some instances, the caller requests that the customer purchase a money gram to pay their bill.

 

If the customer is unable to make an immediate payment or does not answer, the caller gives out a return phone number unassociated with Evergy or the utility for customers to call back. When calling, customers are often prompted by a convincing, but fraudulent recording with instructions to make to make their payment with a live person. This phone number is not associated with Evergy.

 

Due to valued customer reports, Evergy has worked in conjunction with UUAS to quickly shutdown many of these fraudulent numbers and derail scams. In such cases, it is extremely valuable for the reporting customer to obtain and provide the scammer’s requested callback number.

 

UUAS is dedicated to combating utility scams by providing a forum for utilities and trade associations to share data and best practices, in addition to working together to implement initiatives to inform and protect customers.

 

If you have questions about the legitimacy of a bill, phone call or email regarding a utility bill, do not provide your personal or banking information to anyone. Contact the Evergy Customer Contact Center at the number located on your bill or at evergy.com.

 

If you feel you have been a victim of a scam, please work with your local law enforcement agency to report the crime. For more information, visit Evergy Utility Scams. Evergy will share more tips about protecting yourself against scammers on our social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter) as well this week.

New Bike Routes

New signs will highlight U.S. Bicycle

Routes 76, 66 across Kansas

 

Highway signs that will help show the way for U.S. Bicycle Routes (USBR) 76 and 66 throughout Kansas were unveiled today at an event along Historic Route 66 in Riverton as part of the sign initiative currently underway.

 

“Signage is beneficial because it provides wayfinding for cyclists and it alerts motorists to diligently be aware of and respectful to cyclists sharing the road,” said Kansas Department of Transportation Planning and Development Director Chris Herrick. Other speakers included Bourbon County Economic Development Director Jody Hoener, Cherokee County Sheriff Groves and Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Patrick Tuttle.

 

More than 900 new road/highway signs will be placed across Kansas marking the two bicycle routes. These routes in Kansas were approved by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), as a result of collaborative efforts between KDOT and the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA), beginning in 2015. The USBR system connects bicycle routes across the country for safer, long-distance cycling.

 

USBR 76 is also known as the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail. It extends more than 480 miles and runs from Greely County on the Colorado border to Crawford County on the Missouri border. The Kansas stretch of USBR 66 is 13 miles long and runs through the southeast corner of the state.

 

“Thousands of cyclists ride these routes through Kansas every year offering great tourist opportunities for the over 30 communities they pass through, especially rural towns,” said KDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Jenny Kramer. “Many towns take advantage of this opportunity for economic growth and development by making their towns more bicycle-friendly and creating attractive resting and overnight spots for travelers.”

 

Sign installation will begin in spring 2020 and should all be placed by June. KDOT has developed signing plans to assist with installation along the state and local systems. In addition, KDOT plans to release the 2020-21 Kansas Bicycle Map by next summer.

 

For more information on KDOT’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Program and resources on cycling in Kansas, go to: https://www.ksdot.org/burRail/bike/default.asp.

 

Prisoner Escapes From Wichita

Minimum-custody Inmate Kyle Ingels Walked Away from Wichita Work Release Facility

 

Minimum-custody inmate Kyle Ingels #98449 has been placed on escape status at approximately 6:48 p.m., Tuesday, after he walked away from the Wichita Work Release Facility.

 

Ingels, a 32-year-old white male, left for work at 10:30 a.m. and was reported missing when he did not report back to the facility following work Tuesday evening. Ingels was last seen wearing a red hoodie with black writing on the sleeves, blue jeans, black boots, and a black baseball cap.

 

Ingels is currently serving a 60-month sentence for several convictions in Neosho County including theft, forgery, drug possession, and endangerment of a child. Engels had a prior drug conviction from Neosho County in 2007.

 

Ingels is 6 feet tall, 198 pounds with hazel eyes and brown hair.

 

Anyone with information on Ingels can call the Kansas Department of Corrections at 620-221-6660, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation at (800) 572-7463 or local law enforcement at 911.

 

The walk-away is currently being investigated.  New information will be released as it becomes available.

 

The Wichita Work Release Facility, a satellite unit of the Winfield Correctional Facility, is an all-male, minimum-custody state prison with a population of 250.

Community Health Center Extends Services

Updated Oct. 17

Krista Postai

Krista Postai, President and CEO of Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, said they expanding services.

Mercy Hospital announced in October 2018 that they would be closing December 2018.

Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, 401 Woodland Hills Blvd.

CHC/SEK then  assumed responsibilities, securing physicians and staff to provide a clinic to the community at the Mercy Hospital site, 401 Woodland Hills Blvd.

The CHC/SEK is currently planning to build a new facility on the Horton Street side of the former Mercy Hospital site.

CHC/SEK will be building a facility on Horton, just west of the former Mercy Hospital building.

“We have selected an architect for our new Fort Scott clinic,” Postai said.  “It’s Zingre and Associates from Ft. Scott and  we are in the midst of designing the new facility.”

“We only have a two-year lease for our current space which Mercy clearly indicated is not renewable,” Postai said. “We knew from the beginning that we would have to build a new clinic, which we’ve shared publically to the various groups we’ve talked with, including the city and county. To help make our startup affordable in Ft. Scott and give us time to plan, Mercy discounted the rent amount for us and  everyone in there, which is greatly appreciated.”

“Overhead (electricity, gas, etc.) is extremely expensive in the existing space, as is ongoing maintenance on the building,” Postai said. ” So there is no way we could assume the financial burden of a 177,000 sq. ft. building that is only being minimally utilized. Others who have evaluated ownership of the building came to the same conclusion. We know Mercy recognizes that and have evaluated options including demolition although, to my knowledge, no final decision has been reached.”

“CHC/SEK is planning on expanding its services to include dental care, mental health care, a women’s center, more accessible pharmacy, etc. which can’t be accomplished in the existing space we now occupy without a major investment in renovation in a building with a uncertain future,” Postai said.  “Our model of care also supports integration of services. For example, children coming in for their well child check may also have a visit with the dentist or someone struggling to manage their diabetes may meet with a therapist or a patient educator as part of their medical visit. Numerous support staff also coordinate care or work with special populations (e.g. expectant mothers)  which requires space within the clinic. So, we’re working with our Ft. Scott staff to determine what they want and need in a new building built specifically to support our ‘one-stop’ approach or, as our vision says, ‘Healthcare The Way It Should Be.'”

 

In addition, CHC/SEK also  will assume responsibility of Mercy’s clinic in Columbus in January 2020, Postai said.

” We will be combining our existing Columbus clinic with Mercy’s clinic,”  Postai said.  “Mercy will continue to manage the hospital in Columbus which is owned by the city.”

Postai said CHC/SEK is also extending its reach into Oklahoma.

“CHC/SEK was one of 77 health centers in the U.S. to receive grants to open new health centers and we will be doing so in Miami and Wyandotte, Oklahoma,” she said. ” Our center in Miami is currently operated by Mercy who asked us if we would assume responsibility and we agreed to do so. The one in Wyandotte is in a school and will primarily serve the students, their families and school staff. We will have the clinics open before the end of the year.”

 

The organization is also working to secure future doctors for the area, and former Mercy Hospital CEO Reta Baker was selected to administer the program to do just that.

Reta Baker is now CHC/SEK’s Vice President of Clinical Education, with the office located in Pittsburg.

“We also are working with the University of Kansas School of Medicine to establish a family practice residency program in southeast Kansas,” Postai said. “To provide administrative oversight of this program – and all of our clinical education students – is Reta Baker, former hospital CEO in Ft. Scott. She has been named VP/Clinical Education and her office is located in CHC/SEK’s system office in Pittsburg.”

With all the outreach activity of CHC/SEK, “We are nearing 500 full-time employees,” Postai said.

Here is the list of CHS/SEK outreach from Krista Postai:

“Crawford County:  Our main clinic in Pittsburg plus a dental-only clinic downtown and we just opened a school-based health center in Pittsburg High School. A mobile medical van goes daily to the middle school and elementary schools. We also have the clinic in Arma.

Cherokee County … we have a clinic in Baxter Springs and Columbus.

Bourbon County … we have Walk-in Care and the main Ft. Scott clinic.

Linn County … we have clinics in Mound City and Pleasanton.

Labette County – we have a clinic in Parsons.

Montgomery County – we have a clinic in Independence and three in Coffeyville – a main clinic, one in the elementary school and one in the middle/high school.

Allen County – we have a clinic in Iola.

We will be opening two clinics in Ottawa County, OK in December – one in Miami and one in the Wyandotte Schools.

We also employ nurses in multiple schools, as well as behavioral health specialists throughout the region.”

CHCSEK offices are located at 3011 N. Michigan, Pittsburg, KS 66762. The phone number is 620-235-1867.

The CHC/SEK Clinic in Fort Scott’s number is 223-8040.

Join Pittsburg Youth Chorale

Pittsburg Youth Chorale to perform at parade

Pittsburg Youth Chorale, under the direction of MJ Harper, will perform a Pre-Parade Prelude at 8:30AM on Saturday, October 19th at Root Coffeehouse, 402 N. Broadway.

Sing along to holiday hits before Halloween, patriotic tunes in preparation for Veterans Day, and folk tunes perfect for Autumn.

Performers meet Tuesdays 5-6PM at First United Methodist Church, 415 N. Pine.

If you are interested in booking this ensemble, contact MJ Harper at 620-719-6633 or email mjharper@usd234.org . Area singers in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade are invited to join Pittsburg Youth Chorale. Participants do not need to be enrolled in USD 250 to belong to this ensemble.To enroll, contact MJ Harper.

Urban Wildlife Damage Control

Christopher Petty.

Urban Wildlife Damage Control Workshop Set for October 30

Most wild animals mind their own business and never create problems for people. But sometimes animals do become a nuisance, destructive or menacing, especially when we encroach into their habitat.

Learn about wildlife damage control with Charlie Lee, K-State Extension Wildlife Specialist, on Wednesday, October 30, at 6:00 pm at the Chanute Auditorium Alliance room.

K-State Research and Extension – Southwind District is sponsoring this event, and it is free to attend.

Please call the Erie office to RSVP – 620-244-3826.

FSNHS Candlelight Tour Ticket

Fort Scott National Historic Site glows during the annual candlelight tour event.

Fort Scott National Historic Site Announces Its 38th Annual Candlelight Tour

Be an Active Part of History

 

December 6 and 7, 2019, Fort Scott National Historic Site will present its 38th Annual Candlelight Tour.

Tours on December 6 will begin at 6:30 pm and leave every 15 minutes until 9 pm. On Saturday, December 7, the tours will start at 5 pm with the final tour leaving at 8:45 pm. Please arrive 10 minutes early to allow time to park, present/pick up your ticket, and get oriented.

Tickets go on sale Friday, November 1st and are available by calling the Fort at 620-223-0310 (with a major credit card) or by stopping by the Visitor Center on Old Fort Blvd.

They are $8.00 per person and non-refundable, children 5 and under are free.

It is recommended that you get your tickets early for your choice of tour times as this event frequently sells out. Participants are advised to please dress for the weather and the terrain, as they will be outside and on sidewalks.

1,000 candle lanterns illuminate the site and 100 reenactors (including you) bring the fort to life.

“This year’s tour will include the audience in the tour stops. It will feature six stops around the site beginning with the enlistment and ending with reassignment of release from service, where the fort’s buildings were sold to the public two years after the U.S. Army abandoned Fort Scott,” said Betty Boyko, Superintendent, Fort Scott National Historic Site. “We encourage everyone to dress up (in modern or period clothes) and step back in time.”

Take the tour under the identity of one of our own Fort Scott soldiers. Enlist in the U.S. Army stationed at the Fort; learn about life on the frontier; the ups and downs of payday; celebrate the holidays 1840’s style; find out how much the officer’s wives appreciate all of your hard work; and after an memorable career, receive your discharge or reassignment stamp.  Keep your enlistment card to remember your journey through time.

Fort Scott was an active military post from 1842-1853, which was a time of rapid growth and change in the country.  As Fort Scott was being built, the nation grew west, expanding all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

With this growth, Fort Scott changed, the mission of its soldiers changed, their experience changed, the environment changed, and the nation changed. Soldiers at Fort Scott lived their lives to the fullest despite the constant change.

From November 1-March 31, Fort Scott National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service, will be open for its winter hours of operation.  The site exhibit areas and visitor center are open daily from 8:30 am-4:30 pm. The park grounds are open daily from ½ hour before sunrise until ½ hour after sunset. To find out more or become involved in activities at the Fort, please contact the park at 620-223-0310 or visit our website at www.nps.gov/fosc.

 

Cato Tour Oct. 12

The new cabin built in 2018 with Marilyn Coonrod Flagg, Jerry Coonrod, Susie Stelle with Maudine Picht in the front sitting in the chair.  Maudine is our only living teacher from the Cato School
The cabin was donated by the Coonrod Family
 Susie Jones from Ft. Scott was a presenter in the cabin for the school kids – showing her spinning in 2018.
Joe Maghe who was a presenter with his Civil War Artifacts – pictured with Don Miller from Ft. Scott and his friend, Karen Keen, from Overland Park.

Tours, reenactments of historic Cato to be held Sat., Oct. 12

Tours of Cato, the first town in Crawford County, are hardly new.

Susie Stelle, president of the Cato Historic Preservation Association, said she started helping John Spurling organize the annual Cato fall tour as far back as 1985. For several years prior, Spurling had given informal tours of the town, which is located northwest of Arcadia, KS.

This year, the Cato School will be celebrating it’s 150th Anniversary.

Organizers of the upcoming Cato Tour, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 12, plan to take visitors back to the mid-1800s through music, history and re-enactments.

Activities on Saturday begin at 9 a.m. with registration in the Cato Christian Church and will continue throughout the day.

Ralph Carlson, a member of the Old Fuss and Feathers musical group and Cato member from Fort Scott, will perform at 9:30 a.m. in the Cato Church.

Presentations by Anna Portwood Swank and her sister, Elizabeth Portwood Thompson and husband, Jaime Thompson, will take place in the restored 1869 rock school.

Various souvenirs and homemade baked goods will be available at the “Cato Store,” headed up by Stelle.

Proceeds from the tour will benefit the continued restoration and preservation of the Cato School and Cato Christian Church, as well as a newly-constructed cabin donated by the Coonrod family.

At noon, ham and beans cooked by Bob “Buck” Rowland of Arma, will be served along with corn bread.

There will be an open fire for attendees who wish to cook their own hot dogs.

Drinks will also be provided, all for a nominal fee.

After lunch, at about 12:30., a quilt donated by Sue James of Galveston, Texas, will be given away as part of a drawing. James’ husband, Dale James, attended all eight grades at the one-room Cato School.

At 1 p.m., Cato member Joe Bournonville will offer hayrides to area cemeteries and other sites related to Cato’s history.

On Friday, Oct. 11, over 600 youngsters from area schools will have a field trip to Cato.

The trip is organized by Cato member Katharine Spigarelli. Schools attending from Bourbon and Crawford Counties will be Uniontown, Fort Scott, Girard, Arma, Frontenac, and Pittsburg. New from this year also will be students from Liberal, Mo.

A tour guide will direct groups of kids to various stations to observe living history exhibits such as blacksmithing, wagons, and farming, schoolhouse games, area history, Civil War weaponry and Native American culture.

For more information: visit www.catoschool.com

Short sleeve t-shirts and long-sleeved t-shirts will be on sale at the Cato Store

Any questions – contact:

Marilyn Flagg

794 190th St.

Ft. Scott, Ks. 66701 620-223-2541

marilynf324@hughes.net

SOUTHWIND 4-H MEMBERS WIN 4 STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

 Thirteen 4-H members from the Southwind Extension District – Allen, Bourbon, Neosho and Woodson Counties – had the opportunity to participate at the annual Kansas 4-H Livestock Sweepstakes at Kansas State University. Their skills and knowledge were challenged by participating in Livestock & Meats Judging, Livestock Quiz Bowl and Livestock Skillathon contests. Those attending were (from left to right) Carla Nemecek (District Director & Coach), Taylor Elsworth, Leah Mueller, Gwen Fry, Kristy Beene, Carly Dreher, Brody Nemecek, Jillian Keller, Clay Brillhart, Haydon Schaaf, Haleigh O’Brien, Trey Sommer, Sadie Marchiano and Aidan Yoho. ________________________________________________________________

 

4-H members from the Southwind Extension District excelled at the annual Kansas 4-H Livestock Sweepstakes event on August 24-25 in Kansas State University’s Weber Hall.  The Southwind District is especially proud that 4-H members represented 4-H Clubs from Allen, Bourbon Neosho and Woodson Counties.

4-H members learned gained new knowledge and worked on livestock skills in order to be competitive in the Sweepstakes event which consisted blending scores in four contests. Southwind Extension District completed the weekend by being named the 2019 Champion and 3rd Overall Kansas State 4-H Sweepstakes Teams. Top ten individual Sweepstakes winners for Southwind were Jillian Keller, 10th; Aidan Yoho, 7th; Sadie Marchiao, 5th; Clay Brillhart, 3rd; Brody Nemecek, 2nd; and Haydon Schaaf was named High Individual Overall (for the second consecutive year!) after excelling in all contests.

The Livestock Quiz Bowl started with a qualifying exam. The twelve teams with the highest average scores advanced to the quiz bowl competition. Southwind #2 (Schaaf, Nemecek, Brillhart, Yoho) was seated first after the test and was later named the Reserve Champion Quiz Bowl Team. Southwind #1 (Marchiano, Keller, Dreher, Fry) earned 3rd best team.

The Livestock Judging contest consisted of nine judging classes and four sets of reasons with 201 contestants and 43 teams from across Kansas. Southwind #2 (Keller, Brillhart, Nemecek, Schaaf) was 1st in Sheep/Goats; 1st in Hogs; 1st in Cattle and 1st in Reasons and named Champion Team Overall. Southwind #1 (Dreher, Marchiano, Fry, Yoho) was 2nd in Sheep/Goats; 3rd in Hogs; 10th in Cattle; 4th in Reasons and named Fourth High Team Overall. Individual livestock judging results are as follows:

  • Jillian Keller – 1st Sheep/Goats; 3rd Hogs; 8th Beef; 5th Reasons; High Individual Overall
  • Clay Brillhart – 3rd Sheep/Goats; 4th Swine; 4th Beef; 3rd Reasons; 2nd Individual Overall
  • Haydon Schaaf – 5th Hogs; High Individual Beef; 4th Reasons; 3rd Individual Overall
  • Brody Nemecek – High Individual Hogs; High Individual Reasons
  • Sadie Marchiano – 5th Sheep/Goats; 2nd Hogs; 6th Reasons; 7th Individual Overall

    As the State Champion Livestock Judging Team, Southwind District (Keller, Brillhart, Schaaf, Nemecek) will represent Kansas 4-H at the American Royal Livestock Show in Kansas City, MO this coming October.

    The Meats Judging contest was based on identification of thirty retail cuts, six placings classes and three sets of reasons. Southwind #2 (Schaaf, Brillhart, Nemecek, Yoho) was 3rd in Placings, 5th in Reasons, 2nd in Retail ID and Champion Team Overall. Southwind #1 (Beene, Fry, Keller, Marchiano) was 2nd in Meats Reasons. Individual meats judging results are as follows:

  • Haydon Schaaf – High Individual Retail ID and High Individual Overall
  • Jillian Keller – 2nd Reasons
  • Clay Brillhart – 7th Individual Overall

    In the Livestock Skillathon, 4-H members rotated individually through stations that addressed six areas of animal science. Those included feedstuffs, breed identification, equipment identification, meat identification, wool evaluation and a written test. There was also a team component where members worked together on evaluating a performance Angus genetics scenario, understanding livestock biosecurity, and understanding issues in livestock reproduction. Southwind #2 (Brillhart, Marchiano, Nemecek, Schaaf) was 1st in Exam, 1st in ID; and Champion Team Overall. Southwind #1 (Dreher, Fry, Keller, Yoho) was 4th in ID and 4th Team Overall. Southwind #3 (Beene, Mueller, O’Brien, Elsworth) were 5th in the Exam.  Individual Skillathon results are as follows:

  • Brody Nemecek – 2nd Exam; 1st ID; High Individual Overall
  • Sadie Marchiano – 5th ID; 4th Individual
  • Haleigh O’Brien – 1st Exam
  • Aidan Yoho – 8th Individual
  • Haydon Schaaf – 6th Individual
  • Clay Brillhart – 5th Individual

    This group worked hard and studied a great deal of material to prepare for four state contests. To be named the Champion Livestock and Meats Judging Teams, Reserve Champion Quiz Bowl Team, Champion Livestock Skillathon Team, and Overall Champion Sweepstakes Team at the state contests shows how hard these 4-H members pushed each other to “Make the Best Better.”  The Southwind District is proud of their accomplishments and look forward to future growth and learning.

K-State, County Extension Councils, Extension Districts, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperating.  K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


Submitted by Carla Nemecek
Southwind Extension District
Director & Agent
cnemecek@ksu.edu
620-365-2242
1 North Washington, Iola, KS 66749

 

Local Singers Invited to Join Pittsburg Chorale, Directed By FS Music Teacher

Pittsburg Youth Chorale Fall Enrollment Open

Area singers in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade are invited to join Pittsburg Youth Chorale, directed by MJ Harper.

The purpose of this vocal ensemble is to further grow vocal abilities, musical knowledge, and choral repertoire.

Performers will prepare music for community events and music festivals.

Rehearsals are Tuesdays from 5PM-6PM at First United Methodist Church, 415 N. Pine, Pittsburg, KS and begin September 3rd.

There is a fee of $50 per session (Sept-Dec/Jan-May) to cover the cost of music.

Scholarships are available.

To enroll, contact MJ Harper at 620-719-6633 or email mjharper@usd234.org, deadline September 3rd.

Bourbon County Coalition Highlights Care To Share

Lavetta Simmons presents information about Care To Share at the Bourbon County Inter-Agency Coalition on Aug. 9 at the First Baptist Church.

The Bourbon County Inter-Agency Coalition meets monthly, except July, to allow agencies that help families to network and share what they are all about.

The coalition’s next meeting is Sept. 4 at noon at the First Baptist Church.

The Bourbon County Inter-Agency Coalition met Aug. 7 with Board President Billie Jo Drake leading the meeting.

The mission of the Bourbon County Coalition Board is to provide children with an environment of security, permanence, and a sense of belonging and being loved. To support the mission, grants are applied for annually. Last year the board received a $1,000 grant from the T. B. Baker Foundation and $2,000 from the Southeast Kansas Community Foundation, Billie Jo Drake, president of the board, said at the opening of the meeting.

“We have also received funds from United Way, Key Charitable Trust, Mercy auxiliary, civic organizations and individuals,” Drake said.

The two projects the board focuses on are 1) rent and utility assistance, vetted through another helping agency, The Beacon and 2) pool passes in the summer for area low-income children.

This month, the local helping organization, Care To Share, took its’ turn telling what services they provide the community.

Lavetta Simmons, who along with Joy O’Neal and Teresa Davenport, helped found the ministry in 2007.

Lavetta Simmons

“I lost my Mom and Dad to cancer,” Simmons said. “Through that experience, I want to reach out to others.”

“Some people have no family,” she said. “Some have no insurance.”

The number-one expense is gasoline for traveling to treatments, Simmons said.

Last year Care To Share helped people 788 times and gave out $68,874 to assist the cancer patients.

Not only gas for medical appointments but assistance with wigs after hair loss, bras after mastectomies and many other personal needs.

Also housecleaning, respite care, mowing of lawns, meal coordination, providing Ensure (a nutritional drink),  and “Sunshine” calls to patients.

Care To Share’s mission is to provide friendship and support through emotional and financial assistance to individuals who are cancer survivors and their caregivers of Southeast Kansas.

For more information contact Simmons at 620-224-8070, Dona  Bauer at 620-224-7075 or Teresa Davenport at 620-362-3042.

The organization has fundraisers throughout the year to support the mission.

In addition, “so many people, businesses, organizations and churches give,” she said.

The ministry is also funded by T.B. Baker Foundation, Fort Scott Area Community Foundation, United Way and memorials.

The Care To Share Board is comprised of Dona Bauer, Donna Beerbower, Kathy Clark, Teresa Davenport, Denny Heidrick, Carol Hill, Nancy Hofer, Randy Holt, Richard Long, Dr. Boban Mathew, Sidney Maycumber, Simmons, and Jerry Witt.

Larry Davenport serves as financial advisor to the organization.