Category Archives: Area News

Medical Workers Urge The Public To Stay Home

Open letter to the American public: Physicians, nurses and our entire medical community are urging all people to stay at home.

We are honored to serve and put our lives on the front line to protect and save as many lives as possible. But we need your help.

Physical distancing and staying at home are the key to slowing the spread of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to give physicians, nurses and everyone on the front lines a fighting chance at having the equipment, time and resources necessary to take on this immense challenge.

Those contracting COVID-19 are your family, friends, and loved ones.

That’s why we’re urging the public to #StayHome as we reach the critical stages of our national response to COVID-19.

Of course, those with urgent medical needs, including pregnant women, should seek care as needed.

Everyone else should #StayHome. Millions of you are already leading this effort – and we thank you. You’re still connecting with friends and loved ones through video chats, social media or just over the telephone – proving that meaningful social connections can happen at a safe distance.

Millions more must join this effort, which is why we’re calling for all-hands-on-deck to confront this public health battle against COVID-19.

Staying at home in this urgent moment is our best defense to turn the tide against COVID-19. Physicians, nurses and health care workers are at work for you, please stay home for us.

Your partners in health, American Hospital Association American Medical Association American Nurses Association.

Submitted by Nancy Van Patten

Larry Shead Retiring From FSCC

Larry Shead. Submitted photo.
Larry Shead, 69,  instructor at Fort Scott Community College will retire in May.
A  teacher of computer science classes at the college for the last 20 years,  Shead worked in private business, then as principal of a local school and began his career at FSCC in 2000.
Even though his college degree is in mathematics, his involvement in his church got him into eduction.
“When our church started Faith Christian Academy and our children attended there, I was involved as a parent,” he said. “Later, I was involved as the principal of the school.”
” I have several preachers and teachers in my ancestry.,” Shead said. “However,  my children are the main reason I got involved in education.  I believe that children get a much better education when their parents are involved in their education.  All of my grandchildren are being home-schooled by their parents.  They are very involved.”
“When my family moved to Garland from Joplin, in 1978, I had a job as a computer programmer at the Western Insurance Companies,” Shead said.  “After that, I worked for Midwestern Distribution for a short period, then Farm and Home in Nevada.  I got more into education after that as the Principal of Faith Christian Academy for 10 years.  I taught at FSCC as a night time adjunct instructor while working at the Western.  In 2000, I began as a full-time employee at FSCC and soon became the Computer Science teacher when Dennis Smirl retired.”
Shead attended  Arcadia High School, then graduated from Pittsburg  High School, Pittsburg, before earning a  Bachelor of Science – Mathematics from Kansas State College of Pittsburg. and also attended  Ozark Christian College for one year. He received a Master of Arts in Education from Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, OK.
His hometown is Arcadia, KS and has been married to his wife, Vickie for 47 years.
They have four married children-Mark (Haley) Shead, Fort Scott, Michael (Chrisi) Shead, Chichicastenango, Guatemala; Maria (Clayton) Whitson, Garland, KS; Mitzi (Joel) Ray, Tulsa, OK and  20 grandchildren.
His community involvement is Faith Church on the prayer team; Bourbon County Republican Central Committee; Christians on Campus Faculty Sponsor;  and International Student Coordinator at FSCC.
The best part of teaching  for Shead is  graduation, he said.  “Seeing these young people having completed their associate’s degree, or certificate and moving on to the next phase of life!”
The greatest challenge for Shead has been keeping students attention., he said.  “This age of gadgets has many distractions even in the classroom.”
” Some people ask me what I will do when I retire,” Shead said. ” I tell them, I have a farm.  I will not lack for something to do.  As my wife and I made a short trip recently, we made a list of items we need to do on our farm.   Also, our family in Guatemala has a new baby we have not seen.  We plan to make a trip to see them.  Hanging out with grandchildren is big on the list, too.”

Sizzling Summer Craft Fair July 18, Vendors Sought

Perry’s Pork Rinds invites vendors to join  a
🔥🔥1st Annual Sizzling Summer Craft Fair🔥🔥.

💰💰Admission to our air-conditioned event is FREE.

“We do ask you to donate any shampoo conditioner 🚿toothpaste toothbrushes 🦷 sanitary items for women razors and 🪒deodorants🧼,” Kelly Perry said.  ” Also feel free to donate a monetary donation for us to purchase the toiletries. Items will be given to local families in need in BB County via one of the many resource centers.”

“We will be accepting 60-100 craft, hand made, mass-produced, one of a kind or direct sales items as well as foods. No repeat of items will be allowed. Step away from the summer heat☀️☀️Drop the kids off at the aquatic center to swim 🏊‍♀️ and come enjoy some free time with indoor shopping 🛍 in the AC right here in Ft Scott KS🌻”

Vendor Applications available Friday, March 13, 2010. Click on EVENTS tab & print form.
Mail to:
Perry’s Pork Rinds
PO Box 112
Bronson. KS66716


Steve Stockard Appointed 11th District Judge

Governor appoints Steve Stockard to fill district court vacancy in the 11th Judicial District


Today Governor Laura Kelly appointed Steve Stockard to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Jeffry L. Jack.


“Steven is a talented attorney and has extensive experience with a wide variety of legal issues,” Kelly said. “I was particularly struck by his ability to put himself in his client’s shoes and by his passion for foster care. I know he will serve citizens of the 11th Judicial District well.”


Stockard is a partner at Wilber & Towner, P.A., where he represents clients in a broad range of legal matters including personal injury, bankruptcy, family law and juvenile justice. He also is a part-time prosecutor of juvenile offender and child-in-need-of-care cases for Bourbon and Crawford counties.


His prior experience includes eight years as a Crawford County Assistant County Attorney and time as a staff attorney with the Kansas Department of Revenue. Stockard also is a member of the Kansas Bar Association and a youth volleyball coach at the YMCA. He graduated from Benedictine College in 1992 and earned his juris doctor from Washburn University School of Law in 1996.


“I’m grateful to the nominating commission and to Governor Kelly for the confidence they have placed in me with this appointment,” Stockard said. “I know this community. I know the judges, the lawyers and the people of our district, and I will dedicate myself to serving them fairly and impartially every day. Our district has been blessed with great judges over the years, and I will do my best to honor and be a part of that legacy.”


District court judges in the 11th Judicial District are appointed by the governor and selected from among nominees chosen by a district nominating commission. Judges in nominating commission districts are subject to retention elections every four years. The two other nominees selected by the district nominating commission were Hon. Samuel Marsh, (Cherokee County district magistrate judge, Columbus), and Shane Adamson (private practice attorney, Parsons).

Hwy. 69 Expansion Continues in Two Projects

Expansion work on Hwy. 69 in November 2017.

Travelers to Pittsburg and south will see progress on the expansion of U.S, 69 Hwy. starting Monday, March 2.

Expanding the highway from two-lane to four-lane has been on-going for about three years in Southeast Kansas.

This is the first project slated for U.S. Hwy. 69 to begin in 2020.

When the press release was published yesterday, questions arose on the FortScott.Biz Facebook page about the remaining sections of 69 Hwy. being completed.

Here are the answers from the Kansas Department of Transportation:

Second Project 2021-2022

A second project for the remaining section is scheduled to start in the spring of next year, according to officials.

“Work on both projects will be occurring at the same time,” Priscilla Petersen with the Kansas Department of Transportation said. “With a fall letting, construction on the northern project will likely start in the spring of 2021. We’ll have more information available on the second project later this year.”

The second project will have bid letting this fall.

“KDOT will let a second project this autumn to expand the remaining miles on U.S. 69 in Crawford County to four lanes,” Peterson said.  “The second project will start three miles north of Arma and end at the Crawford-Bourbon county line.”


” These two Crawford County projects, when finished, will make U.S. 69 a four-lane expressway from Kansas City south to Pittsburg, * Peterson said.


There are currently no projects scheduled to expand U.S. 69 south of Pittsburg, she said.


2020- 21  Project


The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) plans to start the project, which will expand a six-mile section of U.S. 69 in Crawford County to a four-lane divided expressway, during the week of March 2, according to a KDOT press release dated Feb. 27.


The expansion project begins north of the U.S. 69/K-47 junction and continues north to end three miles north of the Arma city limits. Two lanes will be added to the existing U.S. 69 alignment.


Two-way traffic is being maintained on the existing lanes of U.S. 69 while the new lanes are under construction. Traffic will be switched to the new lanes when the existing lanes are rebuilt. Early project activity includes grading and work on box culverts off the highway.


KDOT awarded the $21.8 million construction contract to Koss Construction Co. of Topeka. According to the project schedule, the new expressway will be open to unrestricted traffic by mid-August 2021.


Persons with questions may contact Bob Gudgen at KDOT-Pittsburg, (620) 308-7621, or Priscilla Petersen at KDOT-Chanute, (620) 902-6433.


U.S. 69 Highway runs from Minnesota to Texas.


Bourbon County Takes Ownership of Former Mercy Hospital Building

The Bourbon County Government has taken possession of the former Mercy Hospital.

Officials Introduce Innovative Healthcare Model

Mercy donates building and 1 million dollars toward a sustainable approach to rural healthcare.

Bourbon County and City of Fort Scott officials are committed to improving the quality of life for each member of the community, increasing access to affordable quality healthcare, and remaining vigilant stewards of taxpayer dollars. For years Fort Scott, KS was renowned for its healthcare. Mercy Hospital was an integral part of our health system from primary care to community benefit to leadership involvement.


What remains today are the caring professionals, ambitious leaders, beautiful hospital campus, and the ingrained culture of ensuring community health needs are addressed appropriately.


Bourbon County Commission will be partnering with our community healthcare partners, The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas and Ascension Via Christi, and higher education partner, Fort Scott Community College, in transforming our approach to rural healthcare. Bourbon County will be taking ownership of the previous Mercy Hospital Building.


With Ascension Via Christi and CHC/SEK occupying a portion of the facility, the county is working with other health service agencies to supplement the community’s health care needs by housing them in the remainder of the move-in ready space.

Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, 403 Woodland Hills Blvd., operates the clinic at the former Mercy Hospital building.

For the common good of the community, the building will be repurposed into a collaborative effort that will be here for decades to come.

Ascension Via Christi President, Randy Cason, states, “This is exciting news for Fort Scott and the surrounding communities. Ascension Via Christi is eager to continue working with our community partners here to help to find solutions for the healthcare needs of this more rural area.”


Ascension Via Christi operates the emergency department at the former Mercy Hospital building.

Mercy Health Southwest Missouri/Kansas Communities has submitted a draft donation agreement to donate the building and one million dollars to Bourbon County for use of building maintenance and operations. This donation allows healthcare entities to lease space in the healthcare mall at market-rate. A standardized market-rate lease has led to discussions with healthcare organizations to expand services not otherwise offered.


Administration from Bourbon County and The City of Fort Scott will work together, develop a regulatory board and long-term lease agreements moving forward.


“This project is much more than just saving a building,” Jody Hoener, Economic Development Director, “Preserving this asset allows our community to no longer be victims of circumstance, but to assume responsibility for our community’s healthcare destiny. It creates a sustainable healthcare model under one roof.” There is little doubt in the concept’s success with the right amount of support and will be used as a model shaping rural healthcare policy across the nation.

Contact information:

Jody Hoener, Bourbon County Economic Development Director

Black History Speaker Lunch And Learn Feb. 18



February is Black History Month.

The Gordon Parks Museum is bringing an author and entrepreneur to speak on how to choose one’s weapons in the face of adversity on Tuesday, February 18 at 11 a.m. with a “Lunch and Learn” presentation. The museum is located on the campus of Fort Scott Community College in the Ellis Fine Arts Center, 2401 S. Horton.


The guest speaker will be Frank Clay, Jr., author and a member of The National Speaker’s Association.


“We chose to bring Frank Clay as author, business coach, entrepreneur and veteran for his perspective on important figures like Gordon Parks, who helped shaped African American history and inspired others,” Kirk Sharp, director of the Gordon Parks Museum , said.


The presentation titled “Find the Right Weapons and Success is Yours”.

Participants are encouraged to bring their lunch and drinks with them.


Dessert will be provided.


“Find the Right Weapons and Success is Yours” is the presentation reflecting on lessons learned from Gordon Parks and how Gordon chose the right weapons to bring about change in his life and the world, according to a press release.


Clay will also speak on how Gordon’s book The Choice of Weapons, helped to inspire others such as Frank to find the right weapons in life.


Frank Clay, Jr. is also  the founder and principal of 2020 Solutions Inc.


Clay  holds a bachelor’s in business administration and a master’s in business management.


For more information about “Find the Right Weapons and Success is Your” presentation at the Gordon Parks Museum call 223-2700, ext. 5850 or email

American Legion Mid Winter Forum Fort Scott Photos

Fort Scott American Legion Post Commander Carl Jower. Submitted photos.
Many thanks are due to Post 25 Legionnaire Bobby Matthews who gave of his time and expertise to photograph the recently concluded MidWinter Forum in Fort Scott.
The photos are from Friday night registration, Saturday’s Auxiliary meeting where the theme was the Wizard of Oz, Saturday’s general Legion meeting, Saturday’s Sons of the American Legion meeting held in Memorial Hall, and Sunday’s Four Chaplains ceremony.  

There were so many Fort Scott legion family members who contributed to the success of the MidWinter Forum.
A good time was had by all.
Submitted by Carl Jowers. Post 25 Commander.

Pittsburg Youth Chorale Performs

Adriana Leiker, Sarah Miller, Leah Niederklein, Kayla Hutchison, Sarah Miller, Amaeus Hawkins, and Jordan Bailey. Submitted photo.

Pittsburg Youth Chorale performed at Grace United Methodist Church on Sunday, February 9, 2020.

The ensemble is under the direction of MJ Harper and comprised of 4th-6th grade vocalists from southeast Kansas:
Jordan Bailey, Amaeus Hawkins, Kayla Hutchison, Adriana Leiker, Sarah Miller, and Leah Niederklein.

Performers sang three a capella arrangements of “Music Alone Shall Live,” “My Lord, What a Morning,” and
“Peace Like a River” for their Spring semester opener.

Pittsburg Youth Chorale looks forward to performing at
Mid-America Music Festival and Pittsburg Earth Day Celebration in April and a Finale Concert in May.

For more information or to book this ensemble for performances, contact MJ Harper 620-719-6633 .

Escaped Resident Taken Into Custody

Escaped Resident from Parsons State Hospital Treatment Program in Custody


PARSONS – The Labette County Sheriff’s office has confirmed to the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) that Parsons State Hospital Sexual Predator Treatment Program (SPTP) resident Randy Snodgrass was arrested and taken into custody at 1:30 a.m. this morning in Neosho County near K-47 Highway and Ness Road.


Snodgrass, a 58-year-old male, was being transported by a hospital staff member yesterday morning when he escaped.


“This morning I want to extend a sincere thank you to local law enforcement officials for their effective efforts to keep the public advised and updated about this situation and their thoroughness in tracking down and taking Mr. Snodgrass into custody,” KDADS Secretary Laura Howard said. “I believe their immediate and focused attention was critical to his capture.”


Snodgrass is currently being held in Neosho County.


Resident Escapes Parsons State Hospital Treatment Program



PARSONS – Sexual Predator Treatment Program (SPTP) resident Randy Snodgrass, a 58-year-old white male, was being transported by a Parsons State Hospital and Training Center (PSHTC) staff member earlier today when he escaped on foot.


Local law enforcement and EMS responded to the scene. A hospital staff member was transported to a local hospital where she was treated and released this afternoon.


“The priority for us right now is the safety of our hospital staff and of the general public. Officials at the hospital are working very closely with local law enforcement to ensure this resident is apprehended quickly and without further incident,” said Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretary Laura Howard. “I am in constant contact with the superintendent at Parsons and am actively monitoring the situation.”


Snodgrass is 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighs 195 pounds and was last seen wearing a black hoodie and black pants. Labette County Emergency Management has issued a “Be on The Lookout” through its code red notification system and is instructing the public to not approach, call 911. Snodgrass is considered armed and dangerous.


PSHTC and KDADS officials are fully cooperating with law enforcement’s ongoing investigation. New information will be released as it becomes available.

Evergy crews prepared for winter weather


KANSAS CITY, Mo., Jan. 10, 2020 – Evergy crews are ready to respond if a winter storm moving across Kansas and Missouri causes power outages. Customers are encouraged to have a storm kit and communication plan in place.


“We are watching the weather closely. Evergy crews are ready to begin restoring power as soon as safely possible if this storm causes outages,” said Gina Penzig, manager, external communications. Evergy’s proactive tree trimming program reduces the number of outages from storms, but ice or snow build up on trees and powerlines can still damage the power grid and cause outages.


If outages occur, Evergy crews will first work to restore power to emergency facilities and then focus on repairs to restore power to the largest number of customers first. While line crews are making repairs to major power lines that deliver power from substations to neighborhoods, other teams may drive through neighborhoods to assess damage. The information they gather makes restoration faster because repair crews arrive with the needed equipment.


In case of extended power outages, customers are encouraged to prepare for outages by keeping phones charged, having a storm kit (including water and non-perishable food) assembled, and having a communication plan in place.


Outages may be reported online at Customers in the Evergy Kansas Central area may report power outages at 1-800-LIGHTKS (1-800-544-4857). Customers in Evergy Kansas Metro, Missouri Metro and Missouri West service areas may report power outages at 1-888-LIGHTKC (1-888-544-4852).