Category Archives: Area News

Opportunity To Choose For Mercy Patients With Blue Cross

“In the past, Mercy Hospital Fort Scott has been able to accept Blue Cross/Blue Shield, but Mercy Hospital Joplin and Springfield were excluded,” said Tina Rockhold media spokesperson for Mercy Hospital said.

Kansas residents with Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s plan which are part of the Blue Card network now have access to Mercy Joplin doctors, hospitals, labs, imaging facilities and other health care services, effective January 1, 2018.

 Mercy Joplin and Springfield are now in-network with a number of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas health insurance plans.

“This is a tremendous benefit to our patients,” Rockhold said. “Because if they are transferred or need specialty care not offered here, they can now receive care in Joplin or if need be in Springfield.”

“In Springfield, for example,  there is a highly specialized pediatric service,” she said. “If needed patients could be treated there.”

Click here for a list of Blue Cross Blue Shield plans accepting Mercy providers.

Patients with the following plans will receive in-network privileges at Mercy Joplin: Blue Choice, Preferred Care, Preferred Care Blue, Pathway/Pathway X and Medicare Advantage.

Because of its efficient, quality care, Mercy recently was named one of the top five large health systems for the second year in a row by IBM Watson Health’s Truven Health Analytics.

In addition to quality care across the board, patients in these Blue Cross Blue Shield plans will have access to a variety of Mercy health care specialties in Joplin that include:

  • Mercy hospitals located in Joplin, Carthage, and Springfield
  • Mercy Kids Pediatric Specialist Outreach Clinics in Joplin, and a Mercy Children’s Hospital in Springfield with dozens of physician subspecialists including pediatric critical care, orthopedic, endocrinology and neurosurgery
  • A neonatal intensive unit with private rooms that give families the space to participate in their child’s care
  • First Hybrid Operating Room in Joplin for open heart and brain surgeries
  • Advanced specialty services for cardiovascular, spine, bariatrics, neurology and many more

The full list of Blue Cross Blue Shield plans accepting Mercy providers follows:

Medical Networks

  • Blue Access – PPO

  • Blue Access Choice – PPO

  • Blue Traditional

  • Medicare Advantage HMO

  • Medicare Advantage PPO

  • Pathway

  • Pathway X

Medical (Individual & Families)

  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Gold Direct Access, a Multi-state Plan
  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Silver Direct Access, a Multi-state Plan
  • Blue Access Choice – S

  • Bronze Pathway

  • Bronze Pathway X

  • Catastrophic Pathway

  • Catastrophic Pathway X

  • Gold Pathway

  • Gold Pathway X

  • Lumenos Plans (Blue Access Choice)

  • Lumenos Plans (Blue Access)

  • National PPO (Blue Card Basic)

  • National PPO (Blue Card PPO)

  • Silver Pathway

  • Silver Pathway X


  • Anthem MediBlue (HMO)

  • Anthem MediBlue (PPO)

  • Anthem MediBlue Dual Advantage (HMO SNP)

  • Anthem MediBlue Plus (HMO)

  • Anthem MediBlue Preferred (PPO)

  • Blue Medicare Advantage (PPO)

  • Blue Medicare Rx (PDP) with Senior Rx Plus

  • Blue Medicare Rx Plus (PDP)

  • Blue Medicare Rx Premier (PDP)

  • Blue Medicare Rx Value (PDP)

Federal Employee Program

  • Federal Employee Program


  • Blue Card Worldwide

Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2017 by Truven, an IBM Watson Health company, serves millions annually. Mercy includes 44 acute care and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, more than 700 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Sharing Ideas For Downtown Fort Scott


Lindsay Madison at the Christmas Parade 2017 which the Chamber of Commerce sponsors.

Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lindsay Madison has been the executive director since October 2010.

On January 11, 2011, Madison initiated the Quarterly Downtown Meet and Greet.

“I started it to provide a platform for downtown business owners and any interested party to network for ideas related to downtown,” Madison said.

The Meet & Greets are held the first Tuesday of each quarter from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. unless otherwise announced.

Usually, approximately 18 to 25 people attend, with the host business invited to tell about their business and any future events, she said.
” City representatives (Dave Martin or Rachel Pruitt) usually give a city update and a Fort (Scott National Historic Site) representative usually announces upcoming fort events,” Madison said.

Some of the projects and ideas that have come out of the meetings include:

  • A new downtown shopping brochure was completed in 2017.
  • The Toy Soldier Project was started Christmas 2017.
  • Businesses are encouraged to decorate windows for special events, i.e. patriotic for Symbols of Sacrifice, Naturalization Ceremony, etc.
  • There is a discussion about co-op advertising opportunities for retailers to go together on, i.e. TV ads, etc.
  • A new parking sign was installed on Wall Street in the city parking lot where the depot is located, to promote additional parking downtown.
  • A short-term parking sign was installed in front of Papa Don’s, following discussion of the group.
  • Ideas for downtown events and promotions are discussed, such as 10% off items on Kansas Day if shoppers wear a sunflower, the Halloween parade, the Christmas parade, and Downtown Open House events, Sales Tax Holiday (first weekend in August), 3rd Saturday Marketplace events, including when to hold the events.
  • Informing attendees of grants/incentives available to downtown businesses.
  • A scarecrow contest was held in the past to create fall decorating.
  • New downtown banners for the light poles were the result of discussion at the meetings.
  • Ideas for new murals, for instance, to replace Star Emporium mural at the north end of Main Street.
“We are always soliciting new ideas and volunteers to help organize any type of events or promotions,” Madison said.

On January 9 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. the meet and greet will gather at Papa Don’s Restaurant, 10 N. Main to share ideas once again for the downtown area.

The goal of the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce is to be a premier chamber of commerce in the region, acknowledged for leadership effectiveness, member-focused services and success, and being a go-to resource for business and community, according to its website.

For more information:


New Catholic Boarding School To Open 2018

Daniel Kerr, president of St. Martin’s Academy shows the newly poured foundation to the first building in construction at the school.

Years in a Pennsylvania boarding school created a passion and vision for education for a local Fort Scottian.

Daniel Kerr’s experience altered him.

“It was a life-changing experience,” Kerr said.

Since that time Kerr has had an interest in developing a boarding school that would incorporate farming into the school curriculum and  has been working towards that vision and laying the groundwork.

“This is not a reform school,” Kerr said. ” This will be for kids of high character and goodwill. There is a fairly rigorous application process and an in-person interview with parents and prospective students.”

Thus plans were begun for constructing St. Martin’s Academy, a boys Catholic boarding school.

The Kerr Family Estate deeded to St. Martin’s Academy about five acres of land west of Fort Scott on Indian Road.

Daniel Kerr met with the bishop and vicar-general of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita to tell them of his vision.

“They are enthusiastic and have been supportive of our plans,” he said.

In October 2017 construction began of phase one, Theotokos Hall.

Kevin Klassen Construction, Kansas City, is the main contractor, Kerr said. The architect is Greg Madeen, Durango, CO, who does alternative energy construction and design.

This month the City of Fort Scott granted the school a land use permit.

Also this month, the footings for the first building were laid.

The footprint of the hall is 74 feet by 36 feet, with a full basement, first floor, and loft area, totaling over 6,000 square feet, Kerr said.

Theotokos Hall is the first and largest building and will be constructed of native oak timbers and stone.

“Overall, the school campus will be situated on five acres with access to 200 acres,” Kerr said. “We live on the property and built a house here. Kerr is married with children.

The school will be using passive solar and hope to have a windmill for electrical and also active solar, he said.

Theokotos Hall will serve the needs of the school for the first year before becoming the permanent dining hall and hearth. It is slated for completion in July 2018.

Eventually, there will be five separate buildings on the site.

St. Martin’s Academy Plan 2017

By 2022 there is a plan to complete construction on the crowning feature of the campus, a  chapel made of native stone.

Patrick Whelan, who will be the new headmaster, has moved to Fort Scott with his family and has been working on the school’s curriculum development and educational compliance, along with recruiting students, Kerr said.

“We are blessed to be able to work together for about 15 months of preparation leading into the first academic year,” Kerr said.

“We’ll be applying for grants, benefactors, and financial partners interested in investing in a bold new adventure in education,” Kerr said.

Some upcoming events for St. Martin’s Academy:

Feb. 9 -10 the academy staff will be hosting the Third Annual Prairie Troubadour Conference in Fort Scott. This year’s topic is “Field and Family: Reflections on a Healthy Human Ecology”, according to information provided. To learn more and to purchase tickets

F.O.R.T Leadership Camp will be offered April 16-22, 2018 and again June 11-17, 2018 for boys ages 12-14. Cost is $500 per session. The young men will learn to build a fire, make a shelter, forage for food, race kayaks, serve mass and butcher a hog, according to information provided. Visit:

For more information view the academy’s website at

This photo shows the foundation wall of the first building being built at St. Martin’s Academy on December 20. The Fort Scott Lake overflow area can be seen from the school.

St. Martin’s Academy is located at 1994 Indian Road, Fort Scott, KS, 66701. The phone number is 620-223-2704.

Landmark Bank Expands

Workers from Hornbuckle Framing LLC, Ottawa, work at Landmark Bank Wednesday. From left, Dane Broddy, Nick Nicnew and James Montgomery, all of Ottawa.

Landmark Bank, located at the corner of Main and 23rd Streets is expanding space.

“This is to make it more inviting for the customer,” John Leek, South Branch Landmark manager said. “Our transaction volume is in the top three daily that Landmark has statewide.”

“I think there is a misconception that we are drive-through,” Leek said. “We open accounts. I do consumer loans as well.”

There are eight employees at the south branch location.


Leek said he is “excited” about the expansion and looks forward to the completion.

“We apologize for the mess,” he said.

The addition to the existing building measures 26 by 30 feet or 834 square feet.

Two offices, storage and enlarging the teller area and front lobby are part of the plan, according to Jim Daniels, Loyd Builders Inc. Daniels is the superintendent who was on site Wednesday.

Hornbuckle Framing LLC is a sub-contractor for Loyd Builders, Daniels said. The framing crew was working to frame the addition.

The expansion began about three weeks ago.

“We are hoping by the beginning of April, we will be done,” Daniels said.

Lobby hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Friday hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to noon.

Drive-through hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 8  a.m. to 2 p.m.

The bank’s phone number is 620-768-2374.

The contractor’s plan for the expansion.