Category Archives: Bourbon County

Commission Dismisses Rumor of Elm Creek Lake Sale

The Bourbon County Commission spoke with residents Tuesday who expressed concerns over the possibility that the county could sell Elm Creek Lake to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

During a meeting in early May, commissioner Jeff Fischer had shared a citizen’s suggestion that the county sell the lake so the maintenance would not be the county’s responsibility and a financial burden. No other discussion or decision was made during that meeting.

“There’s no plan to even discuss it,” commissioner Lynne Oharah said of such a sale. “It’s not going to be sold.”

Robert Query said the lake was created in 1936 as a backup water source, a place of recreation for the public and a source of employment, and he does not want to see that change.

“I am against the thought of selling it,” Fischer assured Query and others who came for confirmation of that fact.

Resident Gilbert Fleeman said he wants to see the lake remain public, county land for his children and grandchildren to enjoy.

Query pointed out there is a need for repairs of the lake’s dam, which has a number of leaks. He encouraged the county not to disregard such repairs as just another expense and decide to ignore it, adding he believes the money could be gathered through fundraisers and donations and not just from the county budget.

Oharah said they will look into estimates of what it would cost to fill in the holes.

KState Extension Office: Tips to Keep Your Home Cool

Submitted by: Carla Nemecek, Southwind Extension District Agriculture Agent
With summer temperatures on the rise, now is the time to look for alternatives to save a few dollars while trying to cool the home. K-State Research and Extension offers the following advice:


Can ceiling fans effectively reduce air-conditioning costs?
Any type of fan can be effective in reducing air-conditioning costs if the air movement helps occupants feel comfortable and results in increasing the thermostat temperature setting. If the air conditioning thermostat setting is not increased, there are no savings. The cooling effect of moving air can compensate for as much as a four-degree rise in temperature. Keep in mind, that during the heating season, the air movement caused by the fan will still have the same cooling effect.
How can I keep my home cooler in the summer without air conditioning?
The simplest, least expensive method to keep a home cool is shading walls, windows, and the roof. Interior shades are inexpensive and easy to install. Use pull-down or Venetian blinds in addition to regular window coverings. Window coverings should be light colored (white or beige). There are several ways to keep a home cool without overusing the air conditioner. Of these options, install shades first. Compare utility bills before and after the installation of shades. If satisfied with the savings, stop there, but if savings are not significant, look into other options. One option to consider is exterior awnings. They are more expensive than interior shades, but would be a great way to shade south windows. Natural shading is another way to block heat gain in summer. For example, plant broad-leafed trees on the south and west sides of the home. They shade a home in summer months and will let in sunlight during winter months when they have shed their leaves. Certain steps will help keep a home warm in winter and will help cool it during the summer. Insulated walls and roof reduce heat gain, just as they lower heat loss in winter. As a general rule, ceiling insulation should have an R-value of 35 to 45, and walls from 19 to 27. A light-colored roof also decreases heat gain. Use the above suggestions, coupled with circulating fans inside the home, and utility bills will be less than if air conditioning was the only cooling source.
Is it better to leave the fan running continuously with the air conditioner or to place it in the automatic position?
It is more efficient to leave the thermostat in the automatic position. The fan consumes only one-tenth the energy of the compressor, but when it runs continuously, the fan can cost up to $30 a month. This amount can be reduced by cycling the fan only when it’s needed. Additionally, the air conditioner will dehumidify the air only when the compressor is running. However, if the fan remains on after the compressor cycles off, some moisture on the coil will re-evaporate. This moisture must be removed during the next compressor cycle, which increases the energy consumption.
If air distribution is poor within the home or business and hot spots or very cold areas result, the fan can be run to even out the temperatures.  However, the fan should be set to the auto position when the building is unoccupied. Even better, shut the air conditioner off or raise the thermostat setting when leaving the building.
Will I save energy by turning off my air conditioner when I leave home, or am I better off just letting it run?

If gone for four hours or more, more energy will be saved by turning off the air conditioner or turning up the thermostat. During the day, keep windows shut and close curtains or blinds on any windows that will be exposed to sunlight. The thermal mass of the house will probably keep the indoor temperature well below the outdoor temperature, and the house should cool quickly when the air conditioner is restarted. Use a programmable thermostat or timer to turn on the air conditioner 30 to 45 minutes before the expected arrival home. If the home is still warm upon arrival, turn on a fan to create air movement.  Moving air can make the air feel about four degrees cooler than it really is.
For more information about energy savings, visit K-State Research and Extension on the web, www.ksre.ksu.edu

County Receives Budget Requests

Over the past month, the Bourbon County Commission has accepted budget requests from a variety of departments as they prepare for their upcoming budget deadline.

The commission continues to try to be frugal with the county funds as they face expenses such as roads and bridges in need of repairs, vehicles and equipment in need of replacement, as well as the need to offer employees competitive salaries and benefits in order to encourage them to stay.

Already, a work session has been held by the commission to look over the budget requests and the budget process. A few requests including that from the Sheriff’s Department and the Attorney have not yet been received.

See below for the departments and their budget requests for 2018 and the amount they were given for the 2017 budget year, as provided by County Clerk Kendell Mason.

Department                                       2018 Request                 2017 Approved

Appraiser                                             $279,761                                  $268,162

Bridge and Culvert                         $204,129                                  $214,129

Clerk                                                       $96,760                                      $98,462

District Court                                    $247,293                                  $242,293

Election                                               $86,900                                       $86,900

Elm Creek                                           $27,031                                      $26,931

Emergency Management            $61,439                                    $66,464

Emergency Management Grant    $17,500                              $17,000

Information Technology                  $187,503                              $173,288

Landfill                                                      $302,580                                $238,749

Noxious Weed                                    $151,528                                 $151,528

Register of Deeds                               $90,450                                   $90,550

Road and Bridge                                 $2,003,688                             $2,003,688

Road and Bridge Sales Tax            $1,008,124                            $1,064,894

Special Bridge                                     $20,585                                       $20,585

Special Bridge Improvement Fund    $364,318                         ———–

Treasurer                                             $106,750                                     $106,062

Secret Garden Tour Puts Private Gardens on Display

The Bourbon County Garden Club continues their tradition of hosting the Secret Garden Tour Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., as four Fort Scott residents open their yards for the viewing of their elaborate gardens.

The event first began in 1998 with Martha Scott and Pat Lyons organizing the tours, which were handed over to the leadership of the garden club in 2001.

“They wanted a unique way to get people to come to Fort Scott,” Garden Club President Judy Wallis said.

This year’s tours include four homes as well as the community garden on Horton Street and the Vineda de Alamo vineyard owned by Bobby and Denise Duncan. A variety of themes will be on display, including shade, vegetable, old-fashioned, courtyard and country gardens.

Wallis, speaking during Thursday morning’s Chamber Coffee, said the event is a great opportunity to view the gardens usually hidden on private property. She said it also allows visitors to learn about different plants and get ideas for their own landscaping.

Tickets for the event can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce building and Country Cupboard for $10. Participants can visit the locations on their own time within the hours of the tour.

The Garden Club also participates in planting and maintaining the hanging flowers and other garden areas located in downtown Fort Scott. The group meets every fourth Thursday evening and invites visitor interested in learning more.

Kansas State: Annual Flowers – Tips for More Profuse Blooming

Submitted by Krista Harding

Just like last year, we have been gotten a lot of rain this spring. Our soils were definitely saturated for several weeks. You may think that watering won’t be needed for quite some time since soil moisture levels are very high. However, watering may be needed much sooner than you think.

Excessive rain can drive oxygen out of the soil and literally drown roots. Therefore, as we enter hotter, drier weather, the plants with damaged root systems may be very susceptible to lack of water. Don’t forget to check your plants for signs of wilting or leaf scorching and water as needed.

My annual flowers haven’t been overly impressive yet. I know as our temperatures warm, they will pick up blooming speed. To keep the blooms going, a nitrogen fertilizer application and removing spent flowers is a must. An application of fertilizer is especially needed this year considering the amount of rain we have gotten recently.

Modern annual flowers have been bred to flower early and over a long period of time. Providing nitrogen through the growing season (sidedressing) can help maintain flower display. A high nitrogen sidedressing should be applied four to six weeks after flowers have been set out. Additional fertilizers every four to six weeks are also helpful during a rainy summer or if flower beds are irrigated. Common sources of nitrogen-only fertilizers include nitrate of soda, urea and ammonium sulfate. Use only one of the listed fertilizers and apply at the rate given:

Nitrate of soda (16-0- 0) – Apply ¾ pound fertilizer per 100 square feet

Urea (46-0- 0) – Apply ¼ pound fertilizer per 100 square feet

Ammonium sulfate (21-0- 0) – Apply ½ pound fertilizer per 100 square feet

If you cannot find the above materials, you can use a lawn fertilizer that is about 30 percent nitrogen (nitrogen is the first number in the set of three) and apply it at the rate of 1/3 pound per 100 square feet. Do not use a fertilizer that contains a weed killer or a weed preventer.

Removing spent flowers or “deadheading” will help some plants bloom more profusely. Annuals focus their energy on seed production to insure that the species survives. If old flowers are removed, the energy normally used to produce seed is now available to produce more flowers. Deadheading is as easy as pinching the plant between the thumb and finger, but tough, wiry stems will require the use of scissors or pruning shears.

Plants that do increase blooms in response to deadheading include: hardy geraniums, coreopsis, some petunias, marigolds, snapdragons, begonias, some roses, zinnias, sweet peas, salvia, blanket flower and yarrow.

There are some “self-cleaning” plants on the market now. These plants drop their spent flowers and bloom again and do not require manual deadheading. In many cases they are sterile varieties – bred not to produce seeds. The petunia and rose varieties that are “self-cleaning” continue to excel in the home garden market because of their low maintenance and blooming power.

If you need help with any horticulture topic, give me a call. My current office schedule is Monday, Wednesday, Friday – Erie; Tuesday – Iola; and Thursday – Fort Scott.

Krista Harding is a K-State Research and Extension Agricultural agent assigned to Southwind District. She may be reached at 620-244- 3826 or kharding@ksu.edu