Category Archives: Area News

Minority/Women Business Workshop May 15

New Minority/Women Business Development Workshop Aims to Help Businesses Grow


Topeka, Kan. – The Minority and Women Business Development Office of the Kansas Department of Commerce will host a Workshop for Minority, Woman and/or Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Certification Programs on May 15. Those interested in DBE/MBE/WBE Certification will be able to hear more about the application process and potential benefits of certification at the workshop.


DBE/MBE/WBE Certification Workshop

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

10:00am – 12:00pm

Kansas Department of Commerce

1000 SW Jackson, Ste. 100

Topeka, KS 66605

(Curtis State Office Building)

Attendance is FREE, but registration is REQUIRED. Space is limited so sign up early!


Click on the following link to register.

(Deadline is Friday, Monday May 10, 2019)



Ryan Brinker

Public Information Officer


Kansas Department of Commerce

1000 SW Jackson St. Ste. 100

Topeka, KS 66612-1354

Phone: 785-296-4931

Cell: 785-276-9723

Charles Baker celebrates 40-year milestone at KDOT



Charles Baker has worked on the state highways in all kinds of adverse weather events, including tornadoes and snowstorms. He and his crew at the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) Erie subarea shop have also dealt with heavy rains and major flooding – including a flood that destroyed the office, which was subsequently rebuilt – during Baker’s years with the agency.


Baker, who is supervisor at the Erie office, has achieved a career milestone and is celebrating 40 years of service to KDOT in May 2019. Beginning work as an equipment operator at Erie in May 1979, he was promoted to supervisor in 2006. The seven-member Erie shop performs operations such as fixing potholes, repairing signs and guardrail, mowing right-of-way, and blading shoulders on the state highway system in the area.


During winter months the removal of snow and ice from the highways is a high priority. “After a snowstorm there is the joy and gratitude you feel that no one got hurt,” said Baker. “We got the job done and there were no accidents.”


Baker lives in Hepler with his wife Janice. On April 28 the couple will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. They have two children and four grandchildren.


New SEKCAP CEO: Jess Ervin

Jess Ervin is the new CEO of the Southeast Kansas Community Action Program. Submitted photo.

Jess Ervin, Uniontown, transitioned to the role of Chief Executive Officer at Southeast Kansas Community Action Program on January 1, 2019.

“I replaced Steve Lohr, who was with SEK-CAP for nearly 40 years,” Ervin said. “He had served as CEO since 1999.”

Ervin’s office is located in Girard, at the SEK-CAP Central Office facility on North Sinnet Street.

“This location houses the Agency’s administrative offices, as well as office space for our Early Childhood Services staff,” Ervin said. “Also located here is an annex facility, in which our housing services and transportation departments are located.”

Ervin is a Bourbon County resident.

“I graduated from Uniontown High School in 2002, Fort Scott Community College in 2004 and Pittsburg State University in 2006 with a  Bachelor of Science in Business Administration,” he said.


“From 2006 to 2014, I worked at Mercy Health Center Fort Scott, first as a staff accountant, then as a  senior accountant,” he said. “Following that time I transitioned into the role of a senior financial analyst for Mercy of Southwest Missouri and Kansas, where I worked until January of 2017. In January of 2017, I was hired as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for SEK-CAP. I served in that capacity until the end of 2018.”


What does the future look like with Ervin as CEO?

“We will continue to serve the children, families and communities in the twelve counties in southeast Kansas,” Ervin said. “Our current services include Community Engagement, Early Childhood Services, Housing and Transportation.”

“We are currently engaged in completing a Community Needs Assessment for our service area that will combine both qualitative and quantitative data factors to determine areas of need, and to identify opportunities for change.”

SEK-CAP is active in Bourbon County.

“Right now in Bourbon County, we are active through Community Engagement, Housing Services and Early Childhood Services. Community Engagement encompasses community planning, involvement and needs assessment,” he said.

“Our housing services in Bourbon County include the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) and Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) which can be utilized for homelessness assistance. Our wait list for TBRA is currently open and is set to close April 30th for the current grant cycle.”

“Early Childhood services include both a center-based (Head Start, ages 3-5) model that is housed in a classroom of the Fort Scott Preschool building, and Home-Based Services (Early Head Start and Head Start, prenatal through age 5), which are services delivered by staff who conduct weekly visits to children in their home, and work directly with the parents to promote healthy development. SEK-CAP’s Early Childhood programs promote school readiness for children prenatally to age five for low-income families by supporting the development of the whole child. Each Early Childhood program supports families in fulfilling their roles as parents and movement towards self-sufficiency by offering comprehensive services such as education, nutrition, medical, dental, mental health, employment services, leadership development and community engagement.”

“Each program our agency offers is vitally important to the success of the families and communities we serve, and we can proudly say that the skill and passion that our over 200 staff has for helping people is a cornerstone to all programs.”

Ervin encourages people to visit the agency website at to learn more, and also on facebook and twitter – Southeast Kansas Community Action Program/@SEKCAPINC.


The mission of SEK CAP addresses the causes and effects of poverty by uniting staff, individuals, families and community partners to provide quality comprehensive services through compassionate, respectful relationships.


New Bus Service From Joplin to Wichita Stops at Fort Scott

Since August 2018,  Fort Scottians can take a bus to Wichita and Joplin and points in between on Beeline Express, seven days a week.

“This is a community service for rural Kansans,” said Jim Lynch, the manager of Beeline Express. “It’s subsidized by the Kansas Department of Transportation.”

The pickup point is Pump N Pete’s, 1920 S. Main on 69 Hwy.

Riders can purchase a one-way ticket for $40 for the destination of Wichita, with stops at Iola, Eureka, and El Dorado, Lynch said.

The 48 passenger bus has a restroom and electric chargers for phones, Lynch said.

A photo of the inside of the Beeline Express bus at Pump N Pete’s on April 11.

“You can put the seats back and take a nap,” he said. “We do have wheelchair accessibility.”

“A lot of people use it for Fort Scott to Joplin,” Lynch said. The cost of a ticket from Fort Scott to Joplin is $19, with a stop in Pittsburg.

The bus arrives at 8:55 a.m. at Pump N Petes on 69 Hwy. and arrives at noon in Wichita. It leaves Wichita at 2:45 p.m. on its way back to Joplin.

Pump N Pete’s, 1920 S. Main is the Fort Scott stopping place for Beeline Express.

It arrives at 5:55 p.m. in Fort Scott to pick up riders and arrives in Joplin at 7:15 p.m.

These trip departure times are posted in Pump N Petes, 1920 S. Main, Fort Scott, but have since been modified by five minutes. Pick up time in Fort Scott is 8:55 a.m.
These trip times and prices are posted at Pump N Pete’s but have since been modified. The departure time to Joplin is now 5:55 p.m. The cost from Wichita to Fort Scott is reduced to $40 and Fort Scott to Joplin is reduced to $19.

“A person can just show up, pay $40 and get on the bus to Wichita,” Lynch said. To pre-arrange phone 1-855-201-6700. The Beeline office number is 316-249-6774 with office hours 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“You can look up the schedule online,” Lynch said.

For more destinations past both Wichita and Joplin, go to to secure a ticket to all points in the U.S., he said.

Tickets are non-refundable but may be transferable at the discretion of the ticket agent, according to information provided.

Steve Van Norden, a bus driver for Beeline Express, hands information to the reporter.


Long Term KDOT Employees Acknowledged


The Kansas Department of Transportation expresses its appreciation for employees celebrating state years-of-service anniversaries in May. KDOT is proud to acknowledge them for the long-term dedication they have provided to the state of Kansas.


Those celebrating 40 years:

  • Charles Baker, Highway Maintenance Supervisor, Hepler
  • Thomas Weishapl, Highway Maintenance Supervisor, Oberlin


Those celebrating 30 years:

  • Deallon Wildeman, Right of Way Property Appraiser Supervisor, Topeka


Those celebrating 20 years:

  • Matthew Bleier, Engineering Technician Specialist, Topeka
  • James Fetters, Equipment Operator Senior, Council Grove
  • Martin Harrington, Highway Maintenance Supervisor, Norton
  • Jonathan Houpt Equipment Operator, Olathe
  • David Rush, Equipment Operator Specialist, Ottawa
  • Steven Schmidt, Equipment Mechanic Senior, Salina

Confederate Memorial Service April 27

The 2nd Annual Confederate Memorial Service will be held at the National Cemetery at 10 am, Saturday, April 27.

Members of Sons of the Confederate Veterans (SCV) Major Thomas J. Key Camp #1920, will conduct the memorial service.
A joint Sons of Union Veterans (SUV) and SCV honor guard will present colors at the service
There are 14 Confederate Soldiers interred at the Fort Fort Scott National Cemetery. All were POW’s at Fort Scott and the majority were captured at the Battle of Mine Creek.
April has been recognized as Confederate  History month throughout the South. While Kansas does not recognize Confederate History month,  special permission was given by the National Cemetery Administration to conduct a memorial service for the Confederate dead in the Fort Scott National Cemetery.
This year’s memorial service was scheduled to coincide with Civil Wars Days at “The Fort.”
The memorial service is open to the public. Persons attending the memorial service can wear period clothing as desired.

American Legion Auxiliary Unit 25


There will be a rechartering of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 25 on May 3, 2019 at 7 pm. This milestone event will take place in Fort Scott’s Memorial Hall.

The American Legion Auxiliary is a standalone organization and offers programs to support Veterans and the community. For more information about the American Legion Auxiliary visit their national website at

Any female who has an ancestor who served in the United States military is eligible for the American Legion Auxiliary. Additionally, female family members of Veterans and active duty military may also be eligible for the American Legion Auxiliary.

There is not an age requirement to join the Auxiliary Unit. Some Legion members have enrolled their daughters or granddaughters at birth to become an Auxiliary member.

Females interested in joining the American Legion Fort Scott Auxiliary Unit should call Myra Jowers at 620.215.1286 or email her at about joining or to clarify their membership eligibility.


Retired Pay Restoration Act

Veterans and Friends: Urge Congress to Pass the Retired Pay Restoration Act

Military retirees who have a service-connected disability rating below 50 percent have their retirement pay reduced, dollar for dollar, by the amount of disability compensation they receive. This demeaning tax, created by Congress to save money, forces those who have dedicated their careers to military service to make do without benefits they need to provide for their families.

Take Action: Contact your members of Congress and urge them to cosponsor the Retired Pay Restoration Act. Our nation is still at war. We must ensure that benefits earned through honorable service to this country are improved, not eroded.

Members of Congress can be contacted at


Harper Studio Performs at Music Festival


Area students in elementary through middle school performed at Pittsburg State University’s Mid-America Music Festival on Saturday, April 13th.

Fifth- grade violinists Ashley Cannon and Grace Anderson received a II (Good) rating on their solos. Aubrey Yarick, 5th grade, received a II (Good) rating on her piano solo. Vocalists Auggie Allison (5th), Cassia Allison (7th), Emma Call (4th), and Elsie Hurd (5th) received a I (Excellent) rating. 5th grader Analiese Rupprecht earned a I+ (Excellent Plus) rating.

These young performers study under MJ Harper. For more information, contact MJ Harper 620-719-6633 .

Youth Chorale Earns Blue Ribbon

Submitted photos.

Pittsburg Youth Chorale Brings Blue Ribbon

Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium & Convention Center’s Pittsburg Youth Chorale performed at Pittsburg State University’s Mid-America Music Festival on Saturday, April 13th and received a I (Excellent) Rating.

The ensemble is under the direction of MJ Harper and accompanied by Virginia Darling.

Members of the Pittsburg Youth Chorale are comprised of 4-6 grade vocalists from southeast Kansas, including Auggie Allison, Ben Bolinger, Gwen Crosetto, Eden Darling, Sydney Ewing, Lyric Jarvis, Chloe Riske, Andrea Wood, and Nia Imhoff.

Participants will receive their Blue Ribbons and Certificates at their finale performance Tuesday, May 7th, 6 PM, at Memorial Auditorium & Convention Center.

All are welcome to attend! For more information or to book this ensemble for performances, contact MJ Harper 620-719-6633 .

Presbyterian Manors Celebrates 70 Years

Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America’s Founder’s Day
celebrates 70 years of service to seniors

Fort Scott — Employees of Fort Scott Presbyterian Village will observe the founding of Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America this month as the company celebrates 70 years of providing quality senior services guided by Christian values in Kansas and Missouri.

Each Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America campus will have their own celebration with residents and employees during April acknowledging the importance each play in making life at Fort Scott Presbyterian Village, the way you want to live.

Many of our more than 2,000 employees view what they do as a calling, not just a job,” said Bruce Shogren, president and CEO. “Our dedicated employees make it possible for us to sustain PMMA’s mission, which directly impacts the wonderful care our 2,400 residents receive every day.”

Fort Scott Presbyterian Village will observe Founder’s Day on April 18, 2019 by having a cook out for the tenants and employees, along with live Music performed by Mr. Richard Mowen for all to enjoy will having lunch.

Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America’s roots go back to 1947. Alice Kalb, a widow from central Kansas, appealed to a Presbyterian Church organization to establish a home for seniors. Her vision laid the foundation for the first Presbyterian Manor community in Newton, Kan., and inspired others to do even more. Today PMMA remains true to the spirit of Alice’s vision, providing quality senior services guided by Christian values.

Alice’s dream has turned into a network of 17 senior living communities across Kansas and Missouri, with Fort Scott Presbyterian Village joining the system in 1994. PMMA, with its more than 2,400 residents, remains true to its core and mission: to provide quality senior services guided by Christian values.

For more information about Fort Scott Presbyterian Village, contact Becky Kellum, marketing director, at 620-223-5550 or


Nuggets To Live By – Hedghog.INK April 13

You read his column every Saturday in the Fort Scott Tribune.

See him in person at Hedgehog.INK!


April 13 at 2:00 p.m.

In Nuggets to Live By, Pastor George Proctor

uses brief selections from his sermons to create digestible “nuggets” of truths that are brief but poignant thoughts full of inspiration.

Books will be available for sale and for signing following his presentation.

Hedgehog.INK! Gently Used Books

And so much more…

16 S Main Fort Scott, KS 66701


Website –