Category Archives: Area News

Bourbon County Commission Agenda Nov. 21

The Bourbon County Commission meets on the second floor of the courthouse, 210 S. National Avenue at 9 a.m. Tuesdays.

1st District is Lynne Oharah, 2nd District-Jeff Fischer,  3rd District-Nick Ruhl, County Clerk-Kendell Mason.

Here is the agenda for the meeting November 21, 2017

9:00-9:45-Jim Harris

9:45-10:15-Commissioners consider and take action on any and all questions or issues which may arise regarding the law enforcement project.

10:30-Solid Waste Resolution

11:00-Justin Meeks

12:00-1:30-Commissioners gone to lunch

1:45-Carla Nemecek-Extension Update

2:00-Clint Anderson-Counter and Flooring

2:30-Employee Handbook

Justifications for Executive Session:

· Personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel

· Consultation with an attorney for the body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship

· Matters relating to employer-employee negotiations whether or not in consultation with the representative(s) of the body or agency

· Confidential data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trusts and individual proprietorships

· Preliminary discussions relating to the acquisition of real property

· Matters relating to the security of a public body or agency, public building or facility or the information system of a public body or agency, if the discussion of such matters at an open meeting would jeopardize the security of such public body, agency, building, facility or information system

Robotic Milking Comes To Foster Dairy

Braving the dropping temperatures, around 250 visitors took advantage of the Foster Dairy Farm Open House Saturday.

The Foster family was showcasing their transition from milking their cows in a 12-cow parlor to milking them robotically.  Since September 2016 their cows have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week access to being voluntarily milked.

“An interesting fact is the Kansas Department of Agriculture gave me statistics adjusted for 2017 about our farm,” David Foster said.

“The Bourbon County dairy industry has a direct economic benefit effect to our county of $11.5 million and provides 25 jobs,” Foster said. “The dairy industry provides 1.2 percent of the gross revenues for the county. We are doing quite a bit from our little farm.”

Lynda and Gary Foster and their eldest son David and his wife, Addi Foster are the owners of the dairy farm located southwest of Fort Scott at 1037 Hwy. 39.

In addition to tours of the facility, a meal was provided tour attendees, along with door prizes. Sponsors helping with the tour were Producer’s Cooperative of Girard who cooked the burgers, brats and hot dogs that were served, DFA/Midwest Dairy, UMB Bank, Seneca Dairy Supply, Uniontown FFA, Fort Scott FFA  and Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce.

A sign on the wall in the robot milking room tells of the productivity of Foster Dairy for one day and one cow. The majority of their milk goes to a Hiland Dairy processing plant.
The robot arm cleans the teat cups with heated steam, followed by a short rinse with water. The milk is suctioned off to a nearby container, where it is analyzed for milk production and quality, cow health and cow activity.
David Foster tells about the robots that feed, milk the cows and analyze the milk product. Foster is the fourth generation on this family farm, southwest of Fort Scott in the Hiattville area.
David Foster speaks to a tour group in the robotics room at Foster Dairy Saturday during its open house. The robots that store and analyze the milk are behind Foster. In between these robots, the cattle come in voluntarily and are milked by a robotic arm.
Some of the Foster Dairy cows lie down in a sand-bedded stall in a barn, while others come to greet the people who came to the open house at the Foster Farm Saturday.
David Foster, a dairyman along with his wife, Addi, and his parents, Lynda and Gary Foster, gave  tours  Saturday during the Foster Dairy Farm Open House.
David Foster tells about the different feeds given to his herd of dairy cattle, during one of the tours. Whole cottonseed is the commodity in this barn.
Farm visitor Gabby George has a handful of the whole cottonseed that is part of a mix of ingredients available to the cattle  24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Each calf has its own shelter to protect from the elements.
Farm tour visitors Gunner and Gabby George enjoy getting the attention of a calf.

See more about the Foster Dairy on its Facebook page.

Walking/Biking Benefits Presented Along With Plans For Sidewalks/Trails

The Fort Scott sidewalk plan.

Walking or biking instead of driving a vehicle is a quality of life issue, according to information from representatives of the PedNet Coalition, Columbia, Mo. and the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team.

The two cited benefits in a non-motorized transportation plan report presented to the Fort Scott City Commission and then the Uniontown City Council Tuesday evening.

Other benefits cited by Abby St. George, PedNet technical assistant officer, are improved health and health care costs, reduced transportation costs and boosting economic development.

  St. George and Jody Hoener, Mercy Clinic Quality and Community Benefit Liaison, presented the report.
Half of the children who live within one-half mile, a 10-minute walk or less from school, are driven, according to Safe Routes to School
National Partnership, and presented in the report to the City of Fort Scott.
Here is an excerpt from the report:
“Many adult residents are also making trips in their automobiles that could be made by foot or bicycle. For example, of trips that are less than one mile, over two-thirds are taken by private automobile (League of American Bicyclists, 2010). The automobile is a wonderful device that allows us to travel to destinations our great-grandparents may have never thought possible, but its overuse, especially for short distances, is leading to severe health consequences.
Obesity truly has become an epidemic in the United States,” according to the report.
Summarizing the Fort Scott  Non-Motorized Transportation Plan improvement costs: sidewalk priority projects are estimated to be $1,731,842; U.S. Hwy 69 Trail Priority Project -$1,964,444; on-street priority projects -$330,300; with total costs estimated to be  $4,026,586.
Uniontown’s Non-Motorized Transportation Plan is basically one sidewalk that leads from the two schools to the convenience store.
Costs for an ADA accessible sidewalk from the schools on the east side of Uniontown to Union Station convenience store on the west side of town are estimated to be just over $50,000.
Crosswalk improvements for the sidewalk are estimated to be $44,000, with a total cost of the recommendations-$97,420.
A grant through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas allowed The City of Fort Scott and The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team to develop a Fort Scott Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.
Healthy Bourbon County Action Team’s goal is to, “engage key stakeholders in areas where our community members spend most of their time–where they eat, work and play. The focus on physical activity, healthy eating, and tobacco cessation directly affect outcomes of our identified community health needs, ”according to the report.
The governing bodies will now need to find funding avenues for the recommended non-motorized transportation projects, but PedNet provided them with four and one-half pages of federal, state,  local, non-profit and private funding opportunities.
St. George noted that with the plans completed, it could add points to a grant application.
To see the breakdown and details of the recommendations:

Fort Scott Costs

Walmart Pick Up Sign

The word Pickup can be seen on the southeast corner of Wal-Mart at 2500 S. Main Street.

The white word “Pickup” stands out on the orange wall of Wal-Mart on South Main Street.

“This is to let people know we have pickup now,” Joyce Earp, a manager at Wal-Mart, said. “You can order online and come in and pick it up the same day, if it’s in the store.”

The pickup location is in the back of the store with a “Site to Store” sign, she said.

Some Wal-Mart stores have the ability for customers to order online and Wal-Mart will deliver,  but the Fort Scott store doesn’t yet, Earp said.

Bourbon County Commission To Attend Jail Project Meeting

The Bourbon County Courthouse, 210 S. National Avenue.

The agenda for the Bourbon County Commission November 17.

The commission meets on the 2nd floor of the county courthouse, 210 S. National Avenue.

Tuesdays starting at 9:00

Date: November 17th, 2017

1st District-Lynne Oharah Minutes: Approved: _______________

2nd District-Jeff Fischer Corrected: _______________

3rd District-Nick Ruhl Adjourned at: _______________

County Clerk-Kendell Mason

10:00-Commissioners will attend a jail project meeting.

Justifications for Executive Session:

· Personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel

· Consultation with an attorney for the body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship

· Matters relating to employer-employee negotiations whether or not in consultation with the representative(s) of the body or agency

· Confidential data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trusts and individual proprietorships

· Preliminary discussions relating to the acquisition of real property

· Matters relating to the security of a public body or agency, public building or facility or the information system of a public body or agency, if the discussion of such matters at an open meeting would jeopardize the security of such public body, agency, building, facility or information system

2017 Official Election Results

Final results of the 2017 General Election were made with 1,501 out of 11,667 voters making the calls.

Fort Scott City Commission: Robert Nichols, 650; JoLynne Mitchell, 565; Cheryl Adamson, 451. The top three candidates in votes were declared the winners.

Mayor of Bronson: Alan Stewart, 58; Lee Roy Whitcomb, 20.

Mayor of Fulton: No filings; Misty Adams was declared the winner with 11 write-in votes.

Mayor of Mapleton: No filings; Ronald Burton Jr. was declared the winner with 3 votes out of 7 write-in votes.

Mayor of Redfield: Clarence Ed Guss, 20. There were 13 write-in votes.

Mayor of Uniontown: Larry Jurgensen was declared the winner with 19 write-in votes out of 26.

City Council of Bronson: Clearsia Botts, 65; Geraldine Reeder, 61; Michael Stewart, 51; write-in winner is Joshua Marlow, 46; Charlotte Stewart, 43. The top five candidates in votes were declared the winners.

City Council of Fulton: All were write-in candidates: Robert Durbin, 11; Larry Paddock, 11; Stuart Cook, 11; Michael Clooney, 8 and Phillip Gratton, 4.

City of Redfield Council: Kirby Martin, 31; Mike Beerbower, 30; Richard Smith, 25; Clarence Ed Guss, 20; Wilma Graham, 17.

City Council of Mapleton: Both were write-in winners: Homer Wisdom, 3; Mike Blevins, 2.

City of Uniontown Council:  Jess Ervin, 12; Amber Kelly, 11.

USD 234 Position 4: David Stewart received 723 over Geoff Southwell with 431.

USD 235 Position 4: Brian Stewart, 243.

USD 234 Position 5: Gary Billionis, 947.

USD 235 Position 5: Mike Mason, 242.

USD 234 Position 6: Jamie Armstrong, 981.

USD 235 Position 6: Tyler Martin, 256.

Southwind Extension District: Terry Williams received 1,170 over Ethan Holly, 783.

Fort Scott Community College Board of Trustees: The top three candidates were declared the winners: John Bartelsmeyer, 1,170; Tina Rockhold, 923; Liz Meyer, 689.

Mercy Fort Scott Receives ‘A’ Grade for Keeping Patients Safe

FORT SCOTT, Kan. (November 1, 2017) – Fall report cards are in and Mercy Hospital Fort Scott earned a grade A for keeping patients safe.

The Leapfrog Group just released its fall 2017 Hospital Safety Grades, which score hospitals on how safe they keep their patients from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections. More than 2,600 U.S. general acute-care hospitals were assigned scores and only 832 received an A (32 percent of those surveyed).

Providing safe care for our community is a high priority for the co-workers at Mercy Hospital Fort Scott,” said President Reta Baker. “The attention to careful hand washing and processes compliance has led our facility into its second year of having a zero percent C-Difficile (C-diff) infection rate. C-diff is an infection often associated with hospital stays. Use of the bar-coding system for medication administration has facilitated a remarkably low error rate.”

Additionally, the electronic health record has been key to accurate and clear communication across the continuum of care resulting in excellent quality outcomes for our patients. Full credit for our Leapfrog ‘A’ rating goes to the physicians and co-workers who have any part in providing care to our patients.”

We’re always focused on providing the highest quality care to our patients,” said Dr. Keith Starke, Mercy chief quality officer. “The work done by our co-workers to earn top grades for quality is critical to our patients and noticed by organizations such as Leapfrog that rank hospitals across the country.”

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is calculated by top patient safety experts, peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. It is updated every six months, once in the fall and once in the spring.

Using 30 evidence-based measures of patient safety, The Leapfrog Group calculated a numerical score for all eligible hospitals in the U.S. The numerical score was then converted into one of five letter grades: A, B, C, D or F. Read more about Leapfrog scoring here.

FSCC Celebrates And Looks At Changes

The FSCC Meats Judging Championship Team: Zach Wood, Zach Steed, Reba Colin, Ryan Malone, Jacob Martin, Rachel Gold, and Coach Jenilee Martin. Taken from the FSCC Facebook page.

Celebrates champs

The Fort Scott Community College Meats Judging Team will be celebrated at 4 p.m. Thursday, November 16 at the Ellis Fine Arts Center on the campus.

The team is the 2017A-Division National Champion Meats Judging Team.

“We are incredibly proud of our students and our coach, Jenilee Martin,” FSCC President Alysia Johnston said. “They represent us well. In the last four years, they have won it three times.”

“This was a good bunch,” Coach Jenilee Martin said. “They went through a lot of adversity and came out with a good year.”

Changes: Martin To Resign

Martin, the three-time national championship coach of the team will be resigning  December 20, according to Kassie Fugate-Cate, director of strategic communication at FSCC.

She will take a position with the  Kansas State Extension Office in Hill City, after working at FSCC for four years, Martin told FortScott.Biz.

“I’ve worked with a lot of great people here,” Martin said. “I came back to FSCC because they cared about their students and the opportunities they give the students.”

“Students, faculty, and staff have taught me a lot of lessons,” she said. “It’s been a fun go.”

“We are saddened that she is going, but we know she’ll be successful wherever she goes,” President Johnston said.

Martin was also a one-half time admissions representative in addition to her coaching duties.

Johnston said the position to replace Martin will change when advertised, from a recruiter to an advisor position.

Changes: FSCC Hires New Administration Employees

Fort Scott Community College recently hired Kassie Fugate-Cate as the newly created position of Director of Strategic Communication. Previously she was an admissions representative at FSCC.  In addition, she will remain as Student Activities Coordinator. She started November 6 in her new position. Cate is a resident of Pittsburg.

“We combined positions to use our resources as efficiently as we can,” President Johnston said. “Kassie is getting her masters in public relations.”

Kassie Fugate-Cate is the new FSCC Director of Strategic Communications.

Amanda Downing is a new admissions representative, taking the prior position filled by Fugate-Cate. She started November 13.

Amanda Downing is a new FSCC Admissions Representative.

Also new to the administration at FSCC is Jordan Underwood who is the financial aid assistant that started this semester. Underwood hales from Crestline.

Jordan Underwood is the new FSCC Financial Aid Assistant.


Roadwork Activity Ongoing

KDOT U.S. 69 Hwy. expansion roadwork last week, as seen from Eagle Road.

Kansas Department of Transportation and Bourbon County Public Works have both been working on roadways south of Fort Scott.

People who use Calvary Road will soon have access again, according to Priscilla Peterson, Public Affairs Manager with the Kansas Department of Transportation District 4.

Cherry Grove Baptist Church sits at the intersection of Calvary Rd. and  U.S. 69 Hwy. where the access is closed currently.

“Right now they are doing a re-route behind the church,” Peterson said. “If the weather is good, the Calvary Road access should be opened by the end of the month.”

KDOT personnel makes an effort to contact people before limiting access to a road, Peterson said.

The Calvary Road closure is part of the improvements being made to U.S. 69 Hwy.

The six-mile highway expansion to a four-lane upgradeable expressway, with access points, was started in March 2017 and is scheduled for completion November 2018, according to Peterson.

Two-way U.S. 69 Hwy. traffic is being maintained while building the new lanes, she said.

Road surfaces on 230th Street between Kansas and Jayhawk were changed from an asphalt road to a gravel road this year.

County Roads Converted From Asphalt To Gravel

Two county roads south-east of Fort Scott have been ripped up this year to eventually be improved, according to a county official.

Eagle Road between 69 Hwy. and 250th Street and 230th Street between Kansas and Jayhawk Roads were converted from asphalt back to gravel.

“This is part of a process,” Jim Harris, Bourbon County Public Works director, said. “We did several miles last year.”

“We turn it back into gravel, then our goal is to overlay on top in the spring,” Harris said. “We do a manual contraction, but leaving it over the winter helps with compaction.”

Exactly what improvements these roads receive is up to the Bourbon County Commissioners.

In March the Bourbon County Commission holds a public meeting annually to discuss the priorities for road repair and maintenance.

“We’ll have a work session on roads, ” Harris said. “I make recommendations about repair or maintain, the commission decides.It’s a public meeting. In March the road priorities are determined by the commission. They decide what roads we are going to reclaim.”

The gravel road has left at least one Garland area resident re-routing his travel.

“It’s so bad I don’t go down that way,” Raymond Kalm said. “It’s too rough and too dusty.”

Equipment Failure Causes Power Outage

Several traffic lights in the south one-half of Fort Scott were out, following the power outage Saturday afternoon. Pictured is the recently installed lights at 23rd and Main Streets.

A piece of equipment called a lightning arrester, failed Saturday about 3:30 p.m. in the southern part of Fort Scott and some rural areas south of town. Power was restored in stages between 5 and 6 p.m., according to Gina Penzig, media relations manager with Westar Energy.

“It was in a sub-station that serves Fort Scott,” Penzig said.

About 3,000 customers of Westar, were affected, she said.

Penzig encourages people while the power is on and the weather is fine to download the Westar app, mywestar and/or sign up for text alerts.

To register for text alerts on a mobile phone, text 97827 and send “reg”. Then if there is a power outage in the future, text to that same number and send “out” for the outage, she said.

Calling 1-800-544-4857 or 1-800-LIGHTKS is another way to tell of a power outage and a person can also go to and report it there, Penzig said.  Click “Outage Center” to see the map of the affected area and how to prepare for an outage.

“On the outage map, you can see if someone is on the way and an outline of the affected area and when electricity will be back on,” she said.

It is best to prepare ahead of time for power outages with a storm kit of bottled water, batteries, charging up a cell phone, and making sure flashlights are working, she said. For an extensive list of preparedness, see the website.

“For winter storms, we usually have advance notice of severe weather,” Penzig said.

If power lines are down, assume they are live and call 911, she said.

Check for damage to electric meter boxes and the power line that attaches to the house.

“If the damage is to those items, you may need an electrician before we can safely reconnect power,” she said.

Using the different messages received from Westar, “You will want to see if you should stay home or find shelter somewhere else she said. In addition, check on neighbors safety, she added.


Seminar For Caregivers

Mercy Hospice Hosts Seminar for Caregivers

Renowned expert Elaine K. Sanchez speaks on “Finding Hope, Humor and Heart in Caregiving”

FORT SCOTT, KAN. (Nov. 3, 2017) – Caring for a loved one or friend during a long-term illness may be one of the most rewarding and selfless things a person can experience. It may also be taxing on the caregiver’s physical and emotional health.

That’s why it’s important to learn more about the delicate balancing act in the role of caregiver.

Mercy Fort Scott Home Health and Hospice invites the public, as well as registered nurses, respiratory therapists, and other clinicians to attend “Finding Hope, Humor and Heart in Caregiving” by Elaine K. Sanchez on Thursday, November 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene.

The presentation will cover many topics including anger, guilt, depression, grief, and self-care. There will also be time to visit with local professionals to collect helpful information and resources about being a caregiver.

Register online at by Nov. 24. Lunch is provided. Space is limited, so register today.

The general admission fee is $10 or $60 for six CEUs. CEUs can be provided to Registered Nurses and Respiratory Therapist. Certificates of Completion will be given for all other disciplines.

For more information, contact Chris Welch at (620) 223-8060.

Note: Partial funding was provided by the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation. FSACF serves to fulfill the philanthropic goals that benefit the common good and improve quality of life by providing leadership and programming that is responsive to the interests and needs of the residents of the Fort Scott area.

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.

Advance Voting

Advance voting may be done at the Bourbon County Courthouse.

Advance voting for the November 7 election for city and school boards has begun. Don’t forget to bring photo identification to the Bourbon County Courthouse if choosing to vote early.

To see who is running and for what position, reference here:

City/School 2017 Election Forum Oct. 26


John Horn votes Thursday after being reminded by his wife.