Category Archives: Bourbon County

Jody Hoener Hired as Bourbon County Economic Development Director

Economic growth is a priority for Bourbon County Commission
and they are aggressively seeking to address the high mill levy, low county valuation, and population decline by a renewed focus on Economic Development.

Bourbon County Commissioners have officially taken action to address the dismal population and per capita valuation forecast with the creation of an Economic Development Director position, and the hiring of Jody Hoener for that position.

The most recent Kansas Association of Research Report shows Bourbon County’s valuation per capita ranking at a low 102 out of 105 Kansas counties. According to data from Wichita State University’s Center for Economic Development Business and Research, Bourbon County is expected to see a 16% decline in population by 2044. County officials realize that should statistics continue to trend in this direction, countywide services will need to be cut, a tight labor market will dissolve, current businesses will be challenged to remain viable, and prospects of new business will be dim.

There is hope for Bourbon County’s community services, quality of life, and economic vitality.

Under the leadership of a new economic development director, the county will address county valuation and population decline. The strategy will build upon the county’s strengths and implementation of strategic planning, programs and policies that have proven to encourage economic growth, workforce development, and improve quality of life.

By increasing the county population and creating new valuation, the mill levy and taxes can be lowered without cutting services.

Justin Meeks, County Counselor states, “The research and discussions the commission has had over the past three years have led to this opportunity to possibly grow Bourbon County population and attract new residential and commercial construction within our County.”

Hoener, the new hire as the Economic Development Director, brings to the position established relationships and connections as well as experience working with state and federal regulations, grant programs such as the Community Development Block Grant, and tax incentives such as the Neighborhood Revitalization Program.

She is a community leader with a substantial background in evidence-based policy, systems, and environmental work to encourage economic growth, quality of life, and improved health outcomes.

“We are here to work tirelessly on our community’s quality of life, economic growth, and culture of health. A healthy community is a community where we have access to recreation, healthcare, education, sustainable food systems, livable wages; the housing that meets our specific needs and is a place where we feel safe.”

Lynne O’Harah shared his enthusiasm, “We welcome Jody to the Bourbon County family and look forward to the opportunities to lower taxes while seeing economic growth.”

Hoener’s salary is $35,000 a year.

Justin Meeks added, “We cannot keep relying on an increase in Mills to keep our quality of life. That’s why we are very excited to have Jody be part of this chance to see what we can do to make plans for not just tomorrow but the future of Bourbon County.”

Under Jody’s direct leadership, Bourbon County was selected as one of the first eight Pathways communities in 2016 and awarded a $500,000 grant.

Building relationships with many community stakeholders through the Pathways to a Healthy Kansas grant, the Bourbon County initiative has gained regional and statewide recognition as a leader in population health and community development.

Friday Night Free Concert Sept. 21


There is a free concert each Friday night at Heritage Park.

This Friday show will feature David Prickett, vocal and guitar, Marilyn Adcock vocal, autoharp and guitar, Mike Lundeen, keyboard, Floyd Feezell, vocal and others.

There will be a open mike period for vocals from the audience.

Showtime is 7 p.m.  Bring your lawn chairs as seating is limited. In the event of rain, the show will move 1/2 block south to the Common Grounds Coffee shop.

Ballot Educational Event

See information below. It is requested you purchase your tickets by Wednesday either from the Chamber, from Bill Brittain 620-224-8657, or online here.
On the November election ballot for residents of Bourbon County there will be a question to pass what is called “Liquor by the Drink”.
A “YES” vote simply means that existing and future establishments will not be bound by the current requirement in Bourbon County that 30% of annual sales need to be from the sales of food.  Repeal of this requirement has already been passed in many counties in Kansas as the art of craft beer is growing and makers desire to focus on their craft and not be in the food/restaurant business.
Following is how the question will read on the ballot:
“Shall sale of alcoholic liquor by the individual drink in Bourbon County, Kansas, be allowed in public places without a requirement that any portion of their gross sales be from the sales of food?”
This passing will benefit a number of businesses and organizations in Bourbon County to not have the food sales requirement.
You are invited to a Ballot Educational Event
to hear why so you can be informed when you go to the polls.
Enjoy a fun evening and filet dinner for only $20
featuring Guest Speaker Bryan Ritter of
The Boiler Room Brewhaus.

You may purchase filet dinner tickets at the Elks Lodge, Boiler Room Brewhaus, Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce, or click below to purchase online ($2 credit card processing fee per ticket applies).
Dinner is limited to 100 tickets, get yours today!
Filets are from The Butcher Block ~ yum ~ don’t miss out!

Agenda For the Bourbon County Commission Sept. 18


Bourbon County Commission Room

2nd Floor, County Courthouse

210 S. National Avenue

Fort Scott, KS 66701

Tuesdays starting at 9:00

Date: September 18th, 2018

1st District-Lynne Oharah Minutes: Approved: _______________

2nd District-Jeff Fischer Corrected: _______________

3rd District-Nick Ruhl Adjourned at: _______________

County Clerk-Kendell Mason

9:00-9:45-Jim Harris

10:00-10:30-Terry Sercer-2017 Audit

10:30-11:00-Don Doherty

11:00-11:15-Dewayne Allen-Drywood Township

11:15-12:00-Justin Meeks

Executive Session-Privileged in the attorney-client relationship-10 min.

Economic Development-30 min.

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

1:30-2:00-Judge Harth-Executive Session-30 min.

2:00-4:30-Commissioners are packing to move to 1st floor.

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

A Beautiful Day For Art In The Yard

Tents and booths were set up in the shade of trees on the Kemna property Saturday for the public to view and buy the wares of artists.

The weather cooperated and the beautiful September day was enjoyed by attendees of the Art in the Yard festival at local artist Bobbi Kemna’s property northwest of Fort Scott on Saturday.

Local and area artists of all styles set up booths and tents in the shade to sell their wares.

Pottery, woodwork, fabric, painting, metal, photography, furniture, food, theater, music, jewelry and lavender artists were placed around the acreage for the public to visit with and buy their wares.

The City of Fort Scott provided a  free trolley from downtown to the site, located on 215th Street, rural Fort Scott.

There was no official headcount, Kemna said, but approximately 200 people is her estimate.

She said she welcomes feedback from attendees.

For more information click below:

Something New: Art In The Yard Sept. 15

Following are photos that were taken during the morning of the event.

The public is free to add their photos in comments.

Festival creator and host Bobbi Kemna, left, visits with Arnold and Clara Schofield and granddaughter on Saturday morning at the Art in the Yard Festival.
Barb McCord visits with an attendee while demonstrating how to weave in the nature tapestry she bought to the Art in the Yard Festival. The natural material was provided and the attendees were invited to weave the material through a giant loom, with the intent of a finished tapestry by days end.
Carol George admires Paul Milk’s Hardanger embroidery. Milk also sold photography and cross stitch articles at the Art in the Yard Festival Saturday.
The Fort Scott Community Orchestra, under the direction of Carson Felt, entertained the art festival attendees.
Sydney and Hannah Ramsey added final touches to Nick Magee’s artwork Saturday at Art in the Yard. Their mother, Emily Ramsey, right, supervises. Magee, in the background, had his paintings for sale at the Art in the Yard Festival.
The Fort Scott High School Thespians entertained the attendees with improv comedy Saturday. The group also sold soft drinks to further their cause of attending an international theater event in Scotland next summer.
Bobbi Kemna, event organizer and host, visits with attendees on the porch of her pottery workshop Saturday at  Art in the Yard.

Northeast Scott 4-H Club Makes Hand-Made Blankets for Mercy

Back Row: Ella Maher, Dalayni Foulk, Jasper Allison, Reegan McDaniel, Joe Foulk (tall in the very back), Lily Westoff, Alisa Popp, Sierra Wright, Brennon Popp, Brody Wright. Front Row: Landon McDaniel, Korbyn Allison, Rydale Hereford, Avery McDaniel, Ana Christy, Maverick Wright and Karlee Hereford.

Mercy Home Health and Hospice Receives Gift

FORT SCOTT, Kan. (Sept. 17, 2018) – Members of the Northeast Scott 4-H Club donated hand-made lap blankets to Mercy Home Health and Hospice to be given to patients.

I was so excited to receive the call about the donation,” said Tabitha Stults, Mercy Home Health and Hospice community relations coordinator. “The blankets are beautiful and so soft. Our team look forward to sharing the blankets with our hospice patients.”

The blankets were made during a crafts class under the direction of the craft leader Destiny Foulk.



USD 235 Fitness Center: Students-Yes…Community Use In Question

Uniontown High School 2018. The fitness center windows are the far right in this photo.

The great news is USD 235 students will soon get to use their new fitness equipment provided by a recent grant.

When the grant was first received, the school administration thought the community could also make use of the school’s new equipment.

But insurance liability issues are putting a stumbling block in community use, USD 235 Superintendent Bret Howard said.

Until the insurance issues are resolved, the community won’t be using the equipment, Howard said.

Howard hopes to hear back from the insurance company by the next school board meeting, Oct. 8, he said.

The board meets the second Monday of each month.

Governor Jeff Colyer and Jake Steinfeld, Chairman of the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils, in May 2018, announced three Kansas schools were selected to receive a DON’T QUIT! Fitness Center, each valued at $100.000.

USD 235 was one of the three schools.

Howard said it is his understanding that the other Kansas schools that received the fitness equipment from this grant program are not making it available to the community.

 The site for the fitness center is the former school library at the junior high school.

Installation was Labor Day weekend and a  ribbon cutting will take place Oct. 11 at 8:30 a.m. at West Bourbon Elementary School,  Howard said.

For more information see the previous story:

Uniontown School District Receives $100,000 Grant For Fitness Center



4-H Poultry Projects

Jennifer Terrell, K-State Extension, District Extension Agent 4-H Youth Development Southwind District – Erie Office 620-244-3826

4-H Poultry Project

The poultry project is designed to help you learn about chickens and other poultry. You will acquire an understanding of scientific poultry management and marketing practices. You will gain business experience and insight into the values and principles of purchasing, marketing, record keeping and exhibiting poultry.

There is 4-H Curriculum that can be purchased for anyone interested in the Poultry project. Here is a breakdown of what youth can learn at different ages/stages:

Ages 7-9:

  • Learn poultry breeds and body parts

  • Learn how to care for and handle your birds

  • Practice showmanship techniques

Ages 10-13:

  • Learn how eggs are formed

  • Select and judge broilers

  • Make an egg candler

  • Learn about pecking orders

Ages 14 and Older:

  • Lead younger members in egg experiments

  • Learn how to process chickens for food

  • Learn about biotechnology and poultry careers

In addition to the curriculum, youth are also offered the opportunity to attend project meetings held by volunteers. Each year, youth are able to demonstrate the hard work that has been spent by participating locally at the county fair, area spring shows, and depending on age and placing, the Kansas State Fair.

The poultry project is a great opportunity for youth to learn important life skills. For more information about this project, contact Jennifer K. Terrell, 4-H Youth Development for K-State Research and Extension – Southwind District at or 620-244-3826.