Category Archives: Area News

Election Candidate Forum July 31 at Fort Scott High School

The Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce presents the  Election Candidate Forum:
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Fort Scott High School Auditorium
1005 S. Main St.
Doors open 5:30 pm
The forum begins at 6 pm
National, State & Local Offices
Submit your questions for the candidates to the Chamber
by 1 pm Tuesday, July 31st
Click here to email
Or, drop them off at the Chamber office at 231 E. Wall St.
Click here for the event on Facebook.
We encourage you to get out and exercise your right to vote!  Advanced voting is taking place now and
Election Day is August 7th.
Thank you!

K-3 Resurfacing Project Starts Next Week


The week of July 30 the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) expects to begin resurfacing the roadway on K-3 in Bourbon and Crawford counties.

The mill and asphalt overlay project starts at the K-47 junction and continues north for 15 miles to end at the K-39 south junction. The highway will be resurfaced through the communities of Brazilton and Hepler.


Flaggers and a pilot car will direct one-lane traffic through the work zone during daylight hours; expect delays of 15 minutes or less. The project should be completed in two weeks, weather permitting.


KDOT awarded the $861,000 construction contract to Shilling Construction Company of Manhattan. Drivers are reminded to watch for the signs and flaggers and to “Give ‘Em a Brake!” in the work zone. Persons with questions may contact KDOT Construction Engineer Bob Gudgen at (620) 308-7621 or Public Affairs Manager Priscilla Petersen at (620) 902-6433.

Mountain Bike Racing In Gunn Park

Frank Halsey, the mountain bike race organizer, puts a medal on a finalist Saturday evening at Gunn Park.

Although Kansas does not have mountains, it does have some pretty hills in Gunn Park that were used to test the skills of mountain bikers this past weekend.

The 5th Annual Marmaton Massacre Mountain Bike Race and Kansas Mountain Bike Championship were completed in Gunn Park July 7-8.

Friday and Saturday evenings a night ride through the park was offered by organizers, Gunn Park Trails Volunteers, who work on maintaining the trails year- round.

Saturday morning two competitions took place: the Maramaton Massacre Mountain Bike Race and the Kansas Mountain Bike Championship. Racers won in their age divisions with the youngest race for children eight years old and younger, which took place in the evening.

Dinner was provided participants courtesy of Healthy Bourbon County Action Team through the Pathways To a Healthy Kansas Initiative and the food was provided by Sharkey’s Pub and Grub.

The trials riding demonstration  Ryan Braxton and Ed Schilling entertained the attendees. Trials riding skills are bike handling skills developed over obstacles.

The skills demo was followed by a performance from Paul Fowler and Lezlee Herd of En Power and Light music group, with the background of Gunn Parks Second Lake.

Sunday morning following a church service, a ride for youth 15-18 years old was won by Fort Scottian Brian Griffin.

Winners of both the Marmaton Massacre Race and the Kansas Championship Race are shown in the gallery below:

Kid’s Race Winners – 8 and Under, from left: · 3rd Place – Easton Halsey – Fort Scott, KS, · 1st Place – Memphis Halsey – Frontenac, KS;· 2nd Place – Gavin Cramb – Wichita, KS.

Kid’s Race Winners – 9 – 10 Years Old, from left:· 3rd Place – Audrey Walker – Fort Scott, KS· 1st Place – Jacee Mattox – Moran, KS · 2nd Place – Lillian Jackson – Fort Scott, KS
Frank Halsey, event organizer, hugs his grandson, Memphis Halsey, Frontenac, following a first place win in the kids’ under eight-years-old mountain bike race.
Attendees visit as they watch Ryan Braxton, Bentonville, Ark. perform a demonstration of trials riding.
Ed Schilling, St. Joe, Mo. demos trials riding on a Fort Scott Bike-Share Bike brought to the park by the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team. The bike was for attendees to try out. The bike-share bikes are located around Fort Scott for public use. Schilling encouraged biking as a lifetime sport.
The kid’s mountain bike race was in the evening of July 7 at Gunn Park.
Jody Hoener, Healthy Bourbon County Action Team, tells the crowd of the purpose of the team. HBCAT provided the meal for the riders and brought a bike-share bike to the event to have attendees try out. Greg Schroeder, left, the announcer, listens and Lezlee Herd and Paul Fowler, husband and wife performers with the En Power and Light wait to sing following the announcements.
Families appeared to relax and enjoy the evening entertainment of En Power and Light at Gunn Park, on July 7.


Business/Government Collaborations Benefit Work-From-Home Residents

The New Wave Broadband antenna sits atop the water tower at Ninth and Burke streets, as viewed from the pickleball court.

Collaborations between business and government create opportunities for workers to be able to computer work from home in rural areas.

New Wave Broadband, LaHarpe, is one of those businesses.

New Wave Broadband has collaborated with the City of Fort Scott and Consolidated Rural Water District #2 to put broadband antennas on top of water towers to transmit from.

That allows employees to work from home, on their computer.

There is a New Wave antenna on towers four miles west of Fort Scott and also eight miles west at Redfield; east of Fort Scott on 260th and Kansas roads; and there is one coming to a rural area knows as Porterville, southwest of Fort Scott.

In town, there are New Wave antennas on top of towers south of the hospital, at the water treatment plant at Ninth and Burke streets, and at the middle school.

Mercy Hospital gets internet provided from the same company that New Wave does and “We share a communications closet,” David Lee said. “We have separate equipment.”

New Wave Broadband has its beginnings in the La Harpe Telephone Company, according to its’ website

Joyce and Harry Lee, the owners, raised their family in La Harpe, and the family still operates the company today.

La Harpe Telephone was one of the owners of Kansas Cellular, which was sold in 1999 to Alltel.

Today, they are one of the 29 owners of Kansas Fiber Network, a communication system that delivers broadband connectivity to rural Kansas.

“Some people can work from home now, that couldn’t,” David Lee, son of Harry and Joyce Lee, said.

David Lee negotiates contracts and does installations for the business and “everything in between,” he said.

Lucretia Simpson, Marie Guss, and Jillian McAdams are some New Wave customers who work from home on computers, 8-12 hours a day, from a rural location.

Simpson and McAdams live just south of the Fort Scott city limits, Guss lives east of Fort Scott.

Simpson had a satellite set-up prior to New Wave, two years ago.

“After you used it so much, the company slowed it down,” she said.

Now she can work all day and still have data available to enjoy movies with her family, Simpson said.

Simpson paid for a wireless router.

“Our phone, tv, tablets are wireless, except my computer for work. It’s plugged in,” she said.

Guss switched companies “because it was accessible and they have faster internet speeds than where we had.” she said. “We were looking for download speeds so I could produce more at my job.”

The prior company would lose their signal frequently and take one to four hours to get it corrected, she said.

“I would have to work later in the day when the internet came back up,” Guss said.

Since signing onto New Wave in October 2017, the internet has not been working twice “and two hours at the most.” she said.

“David Lee is very good to respond and give an estimated time when it will be back up.”

McAdams moved to her current location about a year ago and tried another company. Weather conditions caused the internet go down, she said.

She then purchased a router from New Wave.

“We hard wired it into my computer and the phones are connected wirelessly,” McAdams said.

“New Wave has the best customer service I’ve ever had,” she said.



July 7: Family Fun at Gunn Park

Fort Scottians are invited to join in the fun and entertainment Saturday, July 7 for a local mountain bike race, that this year includes the Kansas championship race and live music in the evening.

“The 5th Annual Marmaton Massacre Festival / Kansas State Mountain Bike Championship starts Saturday at noon with our Marathon Race, a 4-hour endurance event,” Frank Halsey, who originated the race several years ago, said. ” At about 6:30 pm, the Kid’s Race is free and open to kids 10 and under.  This race is not on the trails, rather we cut a trail out in the open field, to avoid the exposure of wooded trail riding.”

The volunteers at Gunn Park Trails, as part of the Marmaton Massacre Festival, would like to invite the public to the shade of Gunn Park on Saturday, July 7, for the evening of free entertainment, according to a press release from the volunteers.

The 10 years of age under Kid’s Mountain Bike Race will begin about 6:30 pm, followed by a  performance of balance and agility, by Ryan Braxton and Ed Schilling on their trials bike.

“A free concert will follow by Paul and Leslie from En Power & Light. They’re really good!” according to the release.

Bring your lawn chairs and coolers and take advantage of this relaxing evening in the park.

“It’s free, and we’d love to see you there!”

K-39, K-146 Railroad Crossing Closures Next Week

Railroad crossing repairs next week on K-146 and K-39


Monday, July 9, the Union Pacific (UP) Railroad plans to close and repair its crossing on K-146 east of U.S. 59. The closure will be in effect between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. K-146 traffic should follow the signed detour route on U.S. 59, K-47 and K-3.


Tuesday, July 10, UP expects to close and make track repairs on the K-39 crossing at Stark between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The signed detour uses U.S. 59, K-146 and K-3.


Persons with questions may contact Wayne Nelson at the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) office in Pittsburg, (620) 308-7622, or Priscilla Petersen at the Chanute KDOT office, (620) 902-6433.


Fireworks at Farlington’s Crawford State Lake July 2

There will be Independence Day fireworks tonight at Crawford State Park near Farlilngton.

The event will start at dusk, around 9 p.m. July 2.

Submitted by
Chris Wilson
Crawford County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Girard National Bank now named GNBank



Girard National Bank is pleased to announce that it will change its name and all branch location names to GNBank on July 2, 2018. Previously, branch locations operated under individual trade names. There are no ownership or bank structure changes occurring other than the change in the bank’s name. 

Use of a single brand will allow GNBank to serve its customers better through a common name at all of its banking facilities. The name change will simplify a customer’s ability to conduct transactions at any GNBank location, without any disruption to customers’ banking services.

In today’s world of online, mobile, telephone and debit card banking channels and services, we felt it was important to have a high-quality, recognizable and consistent brand for our customers,” said Mark Schifferdecker, President & CEO. “When our customers see the GNBank name or logo, they can expect the same great service and friendly faces wherever they are.”

GNBank’s name change coincides with its celebration of 100 years of business. The family-owned and operated bank was established in 1918 in Girard, Kansas, and began expanding in 1986 with branch facilities in other communities vested in agriculture and small businesses.

GNBank is a full-service community bank in 14 communities, with expertise in agricultural, commercial, small business, residential real estate and consumer services. In Kansas, offices are in Arma, Bucklin, Clay Center, Galena, Girard, Hiawatha, Holton, Horton, Offerle, Pittsburg, Wetmore and Yates Center. In Southeastern Colorado, offices are in Eads and Lamar.

GNBank is known for being ethical, adaptable, customer-centered and invested in its communities. It will continue its promise to be “The Best Place to Bank Borrow.”

More information can be found at

Eureka Tornado Damage Update, Corrected


CORRECTION:  The Greenwood County Emergency Manager indicated that 100-200 volunteers are still needed but bottled water is not needed at this time.  Volunteers should be able to handle the extreme heat.  They also need to come equipped with gloves, eye protection, work boots and long pants. 

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has employees on site working with residents to obtain critical documentation (birth and marriage certificates) and the fees are being waived.  CORRECTION:  The employees plan on being there through Saturday.


The State Emergency Operations Center continues to coordinate recovery operations in Eureka.  Door-to-door welfare checks are being conducted in the areas still without power.

There will be a Town Hall meeting held Friday, June 29 at 7 p.m. at the Matt Samuels Building.

The Greenwood County Emergency Manager indicated that they no longer are in need of bottled water or volunteers to help with debris clean up.  If that should change, we will put out a request for those items.

The Kansas Corporation Commission is reporting 1,400 customers still without power and they are actively working to restore power to all customers.  Westar reports that in storms, sometimes the hardware that houses the electric meter and the wires that feed electricity into a home or business can become detached. This is the square metal box and connecting pole on the side of the house or building. If the hardware is damaged, Westar cannot reconnect the service line between the house and the power grid because it’s not safe. The homeowner is responsible for hiring an electrician to make these repairs before power can be restored to the residence.

The American Red Cross shelter remains open at the Methodist Church, 521 N. Main Street, and housed seven residents overnight.  The shelter is serving as a cooling station for residents and volunteers during the day.  The American Red Cross is providing two mobile feeding routes along with hydration.

Century Link is providing the food for feeding stations located at 100 Jefferson.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has employees on site working with residents to obtain critical documentation (birth and marriage certificates) and the fees are being waived.

The Kansas Department of Transportation has deployed the following assets to Eureka:

–          Five message boards

–           10 dump trucks

–          30 barricades

–          Skid Steer

–          Wheel loader

–          Excavator

–          Four flag personnel to assist with directing traffic

The Kansas Department of Revenue put out information that residents affected by the tornado can get free replacement car titles, registration receipts, and drivers licenses if those documents were lost or damaged in the storm.  Applications for replacement titles and replacement registration receipts can be made at the Greenwood County Treasurer’s office, 311 N. Main Street Suite 4, Eureka.

Verizon Wireless has deployed two COLTs (Cell On Light Trucks) and operators and the COLTs will be operational sometime during the day on Thursday, June 28.

The following assets deployed by the Kansas Division of Emergency Management remain on site:

–       GIS Response Vehicle

–       Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Support Team

–       Incident Management Team

–       KDEM Response Liaison and Regional Coordinator to support incident command and county emergency management

–       Communications on Wheels (will be in place until Monday, July 2)

–       Resource Accountability Tracking Team

–       Public Assistance Support for damage assessment and debris management

–       Telecommunications Emergency Response Team

Recovery operations continue in Eureka during the day and will cease from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. to ensure the safety of those working in the area.  Security will remain on-site overnight.

The SEOC will scale back activation overnight to a staff duty officer and will resume full activation at 7 a.m.

Shead’s High Tunnel Hoop House In Place and Producing

Vickie Shead stands in front of her new high tunnel hoop house on the family farm, named by the family “The Garden of Eden”.

Following a lifelong dream to experiment with gardening in a controlled environment, Vickie Shead, rural Garland, applied for and received funding to build what is called a high tunnel or hoop house on the family farm.

Vickie Shead shows the growth of a cucumber vine in her hoop house, one of 22 varities of vegetables grown in the controlled environment.

Since getting it up and going this year, there has been a learning curve in gardening.

“I thought I knew about gardening,’ she said. “But I have learned a lot.”

“We realize that this year is a huge learning curve as we have everything to learn about this new way of growing quality, organic produce.  We are very thankful for the grant helping us get started in this adventure in gardening,” Vickie said.

The inside view of the Shead hoop house.

The addition of mesh siding to keep out pests has cut back on much of the insects that normally feed on garden produce, but she has help to work on the insects that do manage to get in.

Her grandchildren.

They help by handpicking insects and insect eggs and also weeding in the high tunnel garden bed.

She also uses low-technology help such as sticky yellow pads, much like flycatchers of old, to aid in getting rid of insects.

One of the ways Vickie Shead helps reduce the insects in the hoop house is with this large sticky yellow flycatcher. One can see it is successful by the number of insects on it. Her grandchildren also help my handpicking insects and their eggs off the produce.

And additionally, they added insect cloth on the sides of the hoop house to lessen insect invasion.

“I needed a controlled environment from the weather and insects,” she said.

The Sheads use no chemicals on their gardens.

The following is an interview with Vickie Shead.

What is a high tunnel growing system?  Where did you get the grant from?
“High Tunnel System Initiative, commonly called a ‘hoop house,’ is an increasingly popular conservation practice for farmers, and is available with financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and can be applied for through the NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service).”
“The seasonal high tunnel system for crops does not include greenhouses or low tunnel systems covering single crop rows.”
What is the grant for?

“The goal is to assist producers to extend the growing season for high-value crops in an environmentally safe manner.”

“NRCS hopes to encourage growers with high tunnels which can aid in improving plant quality, soil quality, reduce nutrient and pesticide transport, improve air quality through reduced transportation inputs, and reduce energy use through local consumption.  It is to be used on cropland where climatic conditions due to heat, cold, severe weather may interfere with the producing of vegetables, fruits, and other consumable crops.”
“The grant allows the producer to choose the company, the size, the style, and method of installation for their high tunnel kit.”
 How much was the grant for?
“When we applied, we received a grant for $6,732 for our high tunnel system.  
However, in order to adhere to the Shead-Spread Farm’s organic standards and future plans, we added to the grant with our own money so that we could comply to organic certification we wish to obtain in the near future.  The additions included: metal framework instead of treated lumber, roll down sides and fans to increase ventiation, end walls with big doors, and shade cloth for temperature control and insect cloth (50% shade cloth) to lessen insect invasion.  These additions have proven to make a wonderful growing environment that we fondly call ‘The Garden of Eden’.”
When did you get it?   When did you get it up?
“The grant was received in the fall of 2016. The 60  x 30 feet Gothic Style High Tunnel wasn’t erected until July of 2017, so this is the Shead’s first growing season. We classify this as the learning season!

It is an on-going project far from finished.  

We have yet to add permanent plumbing, electrical wiring, and rainwater irrigation system, all of which are awaiting financial resources.”
 Why did you seek the grant?
“For many years, the Shead-Spread Farm has provided fresh, organic, nutrient-packed produce from our gardens and orchards.These fruits and vegetables have fed four families (their children and grandchildren) and are used either fresh, canned, frozen, or dried.  We hope to expand the growing season of our organic crops in order to sell our quality fruits and vegetables, along with our dried and powdered products through the local Fort Scott Farmer’s Market, at the farm, and through the internet. “
The Shead’s call their farm The Shead Spread.
“However, we found that because Kansas abounds in insects, growing organic vegetables and fruits is tedious and time-consuming and next to impossible.  We needed a more controlled environment for improving plant quality and climatic conditions.”
“The NRCS High Tunnel Initiative was just what we needed because it helps producers raise crops in a more controlled environment, which reduces insects, protects the plants from wind and storm damage, and lengthens the growing season. “
Who is involved in your work in the high tunnel?
” I am the instigator of the project with my husband, Larry, as the main support and muscles.  However, other family members also help, including many of our 17 grandchildren, who are often by my side as I work.”
The Larry and Vickie Shead farm, Garland.


Railroad crossing repairs Saturday on K-39

Saturday, June 23, the Union Pacific (UP) Railroad will close and repair its crossing on K-39 east of U.S. 59 in the Stark vicinity.

UP plans to close the crossing to through traffic at 7 a.m. The repairs are expected to be completed and the crossing reopened by 7 p.m. Saturday.

The signed detour for K-39 eastbound traffic is as follows: from the west U.S. 59/K-39 junction travel south on U.S. 59 to K-146, proceed east on K-146 to K-3, and travel north on K-3 to K-39.

Persons with questions may contact Wayne Nelson at the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) office in Pittsburg, (620) 308-7622, or Priscilla Petersen at the Chanute KDOT office, (620) 902-6433.