Category Archives: Bourbon County

Harper Retires As Bronson City Clerk After 34 Years Service

Ellen Harper has seen many changes since she began working  as the Bronson City Clerk, in  Oct. 1986, over 34 years ago.
“Government is constantly changing,” she said. “There’s a lot more demands and red tape. Technology has advanced, I’ve gone from paper and pencil to everything computerized. Even community has changed, it’s difficult seeing the struggles a small town faces trying to survive, businesses and organizations closings, but I’ve been involved in assisting with many positive projects to keep our town viable with upgrades to our utility systems, streets, parks, a new fire station, community center, and library.”

Her duties have included ‘just about everything!” she said. “I always said, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be an accountant, teacher, or do social work, and being a city clerk you do all that and more.”



“It’s not just sending out utility bills and answering the phone,” Harper said. “There are so many different aspects to the job. You work with the governing body, keep records, ordinances, accounting, utilities, human resources, reporting, court records, take citizen’s complaints -that’s a tough one-and anything else necessary to serve the community. I’ve learned that with the government you never learn everything and what you do, they change it. You have to do the best you can and accept you can’t please everyone.”



“Working in public service is challenging and sometimes you deal with adverse situations,” she said. “I enjoy meeting people and being part of helping the community on a local level, but I’ve also met many great people through the state agencies I’ve worked with and colleagues from other cities throughout the state. We have some great state organizations to help us grow personally and professionally and just be there to help each other out.”



Harper pursued her career because she needed a job, but it became so much more, she said.



“This was close to home while raising our children, but it became so much more,” Harper said.  “I grew up here and I care about the community.”




Fort Scott City Clerk Diane Clay sent the news tip of Harper retiring.



” We both attended the Wichita State University City Clerk School and graduated together in 2003,” Clay said.   “We have attended numerous city clerk functions and trainings together as well as many court clerk trainings. We have traveled together to many trainings and I enjoy her company.”



Harper has been a member of the City Clerks and Municipal Finance Officers Association of Kansas, the International Institution of Municipal Clerks from which she obtained a Municipal Clerk Certification, and a member of the Kansas Association for Court Management, she said.
She is also involved in her community.
“I was a volunteer member of the Bronson Fire Dept., which later became Bourbon County District 3,” she said.  “I’ve helped organize activities and fundraisers and volunteer time and labor in refurbishing our park. I’m a member of the Bronson United Methodist Church in which I hold several positions.”
Ellen Harper. Submitted by Diane Clay.
Following her retirement on April 16, Harper is looking forward to more free time with family and friends, gardening, and traveling.
Ellen Harper and her family at her retirement luncheon given by the City of Bronson. Submitted photo by Diane Clay.
In addition, “‘ll be riding the trails and sand dunes in our RZR and taking trips on our trike.”
The Bronson City Council had a retirement luncheon for Harper on April 14, which was open to the public.
“She knew what she was doing and did it patiently,” said longtime council member Geraldine Reeder of  Clerk Harper. “She put in all in her job, she just did.”

Chamber Coffee hosted by Bourbon County Conservation District on April 22


The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce invites members and guest to a Chamber Coffee hosted by Bourbon County Conservation District, Thursday, April 22nd (Earth Day) at 8 a.m. will be held at inside the 4-H building at the at the Bourbon County Fair Grounds Fort Scott, KS.

Coffee, donuts, juice and snack like fruit and cheese will be served, and attendees may register to win a special drawing. Also, they will have the Soil Tunnel Trailer set up for everyone to view and it is part of their educational Conservation Day that happens annually.

Attendees are strongly encouraged wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.

Chamber members and guests are invited to Chamber Coffee events each Thursday at 8 a.m. to network, make announcements, hear about happenings in the community as well as learn about the host business or organization.


Walker Starts Facebook Page As A Ministry

Jana Walker  started the Facebook group, Buy Nothing Bourbon County,  in August of 2020.



“When feeling I could not communicate well enough that this group is a reflection of Christ’s love in us and for us, I asked God that when I opened my Bible, I would find his words to express the reasoning behind and the heart of this group,” Walker said. “I opened my Bible blindly to, 1 Corinthians 4:1. It says, ‘Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.'”



“There were things in our home that we no longer wanted or needed, but there was not a local place to donate the items to, on a daily basis,” Walker said.



“When people are cleaning out their homes or purging most would rather not store their unwanted things for a garage sale once or twice a year,” she said. “We have such a throw-away society. This gives people an option to share their resources instead of tossing it in the trash or donating the items to a nearby community when there are people in Bourbon County who could benefit and appreciate the kindness from their friends and neighbors.”




“After realizing that there was a need and benefit for sharing with people in our county, it was only a matter of figuring out how to go about advertising and exchanging,” Walker said.  “There are large followings on other local Facebook pages that are for buying and selling, and there are members who occasionally offer free items there, but why not promote this as only free items to really be a quick resource to meet the needs of both the givers and receivers?”




“This also gives community members the opportunity to ask if someone might have an item they are no longer using and might want to pass on, or even ask to borrow something,” she said.




Everything has value to someone, she found.



“Group members have shared joy through splitting plants and sharing new starts, listing a dining room table so now a family can sit together and enjoy a meal, home decor, used furniture, old magazines to be used for recipes or collages, children’s bikes, sports equipment, empty egg cartons for chicken owners, and so much more,” she said.




“No money may exchange hands in this group, and local free resources can be listed,” she said. “There are wonderful opportunities to both donate to and benefit from that we want the community to know about!”




“Most people exchange by porch pick up at their home, but each party can make their own arrangements according to their preference,” Walker said.




Members of this Facebook page have listed the following resources for the community, according to Walker.


A small free food pantry is located in a yard on 4th Street (underneath a willow tree) that one can give to or take from.

It has all kinds of donated non-perishable foods, she said.


The Washeteria, 5th Street and National Avenue accepts used clothing, washes them and people can ‘shop’ the clothing in the sheds at the business, Walker said. They are currently operating by appointment only. They request that you call ahead with requests and sizes. They prepare clothing in those sizes for you to go through at your appointment, and it is a totally free service they offer! The other option is they set out clothing of all sizes on the third Saturday of each month for people to come and ‘shop’ at their location.

They have adult, children, and baby sizes.


Bids and Dibs, 108 Scott Avenue, also accepts donations of gently used clothing and then sells them as regular stock,  then the proceeds or credit for merchandise go to local groups, such as Care to Share, documented fire victims, the Beacon, and others, she said.



Fort Scott Compassionate Ministries assists community members in need of heaters, coats, hats, gloves, and blankets, Walker said.



Angel Gifts Facebook page was created in December 2020 to provide family adoptions for Christmas, she said.


“The people of Bourbon County are just amazing,” Walker said.  “We are blessed to live in this community!”

Here are the rules for Buy Nothing Bourbon County

Why is Bourbon County/Fort Scott Shrinking? By Greg Motley

Greg Motley. President of the Bourbon County Economic Development Council. Submitted photo.


Submitted by Gregg Motley, President of BEDCO

My wife and I have lived in Fort Scott these past six years, and love it here as it reminds us of the towns in which we grew up. We just agreed to purchase our retirement home out in the county. There is much to love! So why is it shrinking? Let me postulate ten primary reasons from my research over the years:

1. Rapid industrialization during and after WWII

Small town America led the growth of this county until 1941 when we ramped up the war effort. Factories were built in large cities near a concentration of the supply of labor, and urbanism began.

2. Change in tax policies to promote manufacturing

With the need to build our war machine came tax incentives from Washington in the form of tax credits and accelerated depreciation to benefit primarily these large city manufacturers; this began the great tax transfer from small-town earners to large city companies.

3. Agricultural efficiencies and the drop of ag employment

Most of us are aware that it takes far fewer agricultural workers to produce a crop and manage a herd. Ag employment per acre has dropped precipitously over the last 75 years.

4. Rapid transportation: planes, trains, and automobiles

Our mobile society makes it much easier for our young people to seek employment in faraway places, primarily big cities near transportation centers.

5. Global competition created the need for economy of scale

Due to technology, the world is much smaller now, making it easier for companies to go nationwide/global. To create efficiencies, industries have consolidated, as evidenced by the over 15,000 banks 40 years ago, condensed to 4,519 at yearend 2020.

6. Increase in regulation

New government regulations, such as the Patriot Act, have dramatically increased the cost of doing business, crowding out mom and pop companies in small towns.

7. Advent of “Big Box” retailers

One word: Wal-Mart. Need I say more?

8. Access to technology/online shopping

The Internet has revolutionized the world, and retail has paid the price. This has disproportionately impacted small-town America.

9. Loss of desire for community

We are devolving from a relationship culture to an entertainment culture. Give me experiences! There is nothing to do here! We are becoming human doings, instead of human beings.

10. Entertainment culture

Building on number 9, who are our highest paid citizens? It is those who entertain us, who seldom live in small towns. In a capitalist society, money flows toward what we value.

There are many more, but these are megatrends that have strangled small towns, through no fault of their own. Other than the energy sector areas, the trends are impacting small towns universally and disproportionally. What can we do about it? A topic for the next article.



Features of Friendship

Barbara Stockebrand. K-State Extension Agent. Submitted photo.

Barbara Stockebrand

Southwind Extension District –Yates Center

Family and Consumer Sciences


Many older adults are beginning to venture out of their safe havens with feelings of relief and caution as more are becoming fully vaccinated against Covid-19. There is excitement among them to be resuming more regular activities that the virus so abruptly put on hold.

Scheduling medical appointments that were delayed and planning trips that were all put on the back burner are goals again. Many may be planning to see children and grandchildren they may not have seen for months – or longer. Others are planning outings with friends for the first time in a long time. Simple things that previously felt unsafe now feel possible.

Regardless of our age, we all benefit from having those in our lives we call friends. The importance of relationships with friends and the value of being connected to others cannot be overstated. As said by Thomas Aquinas, “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.”

Meaningful friendships have meaningful results. They produce mutual respect, trust, support, acceptance, joy, empathy, and love to name a few elements of friendship. A good friend won’t hesitate from telling you the truth, even if it is something you may not want to hear.

Friendships are good for our health. Healthy friendships can boost our physical and emotional health in several ways:

Personal improvement – If we want to make a positive change in our life, such as quit smoking, a friend’s support can make all the difference. He/she is usually right there with us encouraging us, boosting our self-confidence. Our chances of reaching our goals increase.

Knowing that others care – and that we care for them, increases feelings of compassion, self-worth, and security.

Support in life’s challenges – It might be retirement, death of a loved one or another difficult life event, research has found that having friends in our corner increases our ability to manage, persevere, and recover.

According to a 2017 Michigan State University study, it was found that friends begin to have a bigger impact on our well-being than family members as we grow old. This gives credence to the need to pay attention to our friends all along life’s journey in order to be there for each other during major transitions. Friendship is a lifelong endeavor.


We still should proceed with caution as we start mingling. Some of our friends and neighbors may not be fully vaccinated or they may desire not to do so for their own reasons. As goes with being friends, we need to be respectful of each other’s position and health needs to continue cultivating those friendships.

K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Bourbon County Commission Agenda for April 20


Bourbon County Commission Room

1st Floor, County Courthouse

210 S. National Avenue

Fort Scott, KS 66701

Tuesdays starting at 9:00


Date: April 20, 2021


1st District-Lynne Oharah                                                                Minutes: Approved: _______________

2nd District-Jim Harris                                                                      Corrected: _______________________

3rd District-Clifton Beth                                                                              Adjourned at: _______________

County Clerk-Kendell Mason





Call to Order


    • Flag Salute
    • Approval of Minutes from previous meeting
    • Eric Bailey – Road and Bridge Report
    • SEK Multi-County Health Dept – Rebecca Johnson
    • Scott Shelton-Variance on County Sanitation Code
    • Tri-Valley
    • Elected Officials Comment
    • County Counselor Comment
    • Public Comment
  • Commission Comment

Justifications for Executive Session:

          KSA 75-4319(b)(1) To discuss personnel matters of individual nonelected personnel to protect their privacy

          KSA 75-4319(b)(2) For consultation with an attorney for the public body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship

          KSA 75-4319(b)(3) To discuss matters relating to employer-employee negotiations whether or not in consultation with the representative(s) of the body or agency

          KSA 75-4319(b)(4) To discuss data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trust, and individual proprietorships

          KSA 75-4319(b)(6) For the preliminary discussion of the acquisition of real property

          KSA 75-4319(b)(12) To discuss matters relating to security measures, if the discussion of such matters at an open meeting would jeopardize such security measures.

UHS Project-Based Learning Students Open Coffee Shop

Camryn  Davis takes orders from a line of students on April 14  at the Eagles Nest. Submitted photos by Mike Reith.
Uniontown High School students opened a coffee shop on April 5 at the school, following months of preliminary groundwork.
The school’s mascot is an eagle and the name of the coffee shop is Eagles’ Nest.
 “The name was chosen by students through surveys,” Alicia Jackson, the teacher sponsor of the project, said.
 The idea was an outgrowth of one of the three major redesign committees that Uniontown Junior / Senior High School personnel has established, she said.
“The Special Ops Committee originally had thirteen members, consisting of teachers and staff from all areas across the school.  Students were a part of the team as well.”
Waiting in line at the Eagles Nest. Photos submitted by Mike Reith.
 In 2020, students presented a PowerPoint presentation to the USD235 school board along with a complete business plan and design ideas.
“Much of the groundwork included interviews, coffee shop field trips, research, and surveys,” she said.  “The school board…designated a space for the coffee shop and had renovations completed prior to school opening this year.”
 “A group of seven Project-Based Learning (PBL) students picked up the project and have made the coffee shop truly a  student-led operation,” Jackson said.
Some of the goals for the project: students gain detailed business knowledge, gain work experience as employees and managers, and develop skills that will enable them to transition to part-time or full-time jobs.
Additional goals are to “earn scholarships, to encourage better grades so students will be granted privileges to ‘hang out’ at the coffee shop area, and to add a fun element to the learning environment as well,” Jackson said.
The menu at the Eagles Nest. Photos submitted by Mike Reith.
Seven Project-Based Learning students are working in the shop. Junior Laney Covey is the manager. Senior Rhian Gorman led the design efforts. The two assistant managers are  Junior Camryn Davis who has contributed from her work experience outside the school, and  Junior Alie Fuhrman who has focused on fundraising and operations.  Senior Hannah Smith joined the group this semester when she returned from remote learning and brought business knowledge to the group.  Two junior high students are actively involved as well: Tyranny Bilyeu and Abigail Lotterer.
Eagles Nest baristas from left to right. Rhian Gorman, Alie Fuhrman, Laney Covey, Hannah Smith, Abigail Lotterer, Camryn Davis, and Tyrrany Bilyeu. Submitted by Alicia Jackson.

The manager’s job is to oversee operations such as ordering supplies, purchasing equipment, preparing and decorating the facility, Covey said.


“As a team, our Project Based Learning group worked together to accomplish all of the preparations to open a coffee shop,” Covey said.


” I think that the Eagles’ Nest opens up a multitude of opportunities to our high school and junior high students,” Covey said. “Not only do students get to enjoy a beverage that has not previously been offered to them at school, but students can sit down at the tables, visit, and hang out.”


“By opening up the coffee shop, we give students a calm environment that we can continue to utilize and grow in the future,” Covey said.


“The Eagles’ Nest project has also been a great learning experience to teach us the basics of running and operating a business,” Covey said.

 The coffee shop workspace is a room located inside of the former FACS (Family and Consumer Science) room in the high school. The space was originally a darkroom for yearbook staff years ago,” Jackson said.
“This PBL group has cleaned, painted, and decorated the entire outer room, which is now used for seating,” Jackson said.  “The larger room is a shared space for meetings and classes as needed but open for the coffee shop during our hours.”
  The target customers are students from grades 7 – 12.
“Teachers and staff have also been supportive buyers,” Jackson said.  “We follow the nutritional guidelines for sizes of drinks and nutritional content.  We are thrilled when anyone buys from us.”
Prices range from $ .75 to $1.25 depending upon the order.
” We have coffee, iced coffee, and cappuccino for high school students only,” Covey said.  “The coffee shop also has iced tea, hot tea, hot chocolate, lemonade, and Capri Sun available to the entire student body. The Eagles’ Nest will also be offering a wide variety of specialty syrup flavors.”
 The Eagles’ Nest is open from 7:30 until 7:55  a.m. and then again for ten minutes during 2nd Chance Breakfast between 2nd and 3rd hours.
“We are hoping to open during some seminar periods at the end of the day, as we perfect our skills and schedules,” Jackson said.
“The shop did a soft start opening with seniors during seminar on Monday, April 5,” Jackson said.  “Since then, we have been open daily in the mornings.”
Baristas Rhian Gorman and Laney Covey prepare orders at the Eagles Nest. Photos submitted by Mike Reith.
About PBL
“PBL (Project-Based Learning) is one of the main redesign emphases that we implemented this year,”  Mike Reith, principal of the high school and junior high, said. “We have a 70-minute PBL period every Wednesday; this is to allow students the opportunity to focus solely on their projects.”
“We currently have 84 different PBL groups, ranging from community/school service to learning new musical instruments to beginning a chicken operation to promoting school spirit to wood and metal projects to developing exercise programs to painting wall murals around the school, and so many more,” he said.
“The Eagles’ Nest Coffee Shop has been one of the main business-focused PBL projects, but we also have some young ladies who have started a T-Shirt design and printing business called ‘The U’,” he said.  “They have been very successful so far and continue to see their orders increasing.”

The PBL presentations will take place on April 27 and 28 during the PBL period, he said.


Year End Activities For Bourbon County High Schools

It’s the time of year where high school activities are ramping up for the end of the year: proms, graduations, senior trips.
The following are those activities of Fort Scott and Uniontown High Schools, Bourbon County’s two school districts.
Fort Scott High School.
Fort Scott High School
FSHS Prom is Saturday, May 8 from 8 to 11 p.m. in the River Room Event Center above Luther’s BBQ, at National Avenue and Oak Street.
Bert Lewis,  FSHS Junior and Senior Class Sponsor, said she will be asking the Fort Scott City Commission on April 20 about closing Oak Street from National Avenue to Judson Street for the prom walk-in.
Walk-in by the prom attendees will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
“Masks and social distancing will be required for spectators,” Lewis said.
Lewis said dates of current juniors or seniors that don’t attend FSHS,  will need to sign up in the school office before the prom, to attend.
FSHS has 136 juniors and 137 seniors this school year.

Thursday, May 13 is the last full day of classes for all FSHS, including seniors.


Graduation is Saturday, May 15.


“Graduation is on May 15th at 8 p.m. at the FSHS Football Stadium,” Jeff DeLaTorre, activities director for FSHS, said. “There will also be baccalaureate in the FSHS gym at 4 p.m.  “We are also working on details for a senior parade at 10 a.m. on the morning of the 15th. Nothing official yet but we will release details when they do become official.”


“At this time we plan on having full capacity at graduation,” he said. “Masks will be required and social distancing expected, but no other limitations at this time.”


“There will be a senior trip for seniors that choose to go on May 24th and 25th,” DeLaTorre said.  “They will be traveling to Branson.”


“This school year has been challenging for everyone in the district,” he said. “But our teachers, staff, students, and community have done an outstanding job of following protocols and procedures to keep our distractions and interruptions to a minimum. We are looking forward to finishing this school year strong and hope to return to more of a normal school year next year!”



Uniontown High School.
Uniontown High School
Uniontown High School Prom is this Saturday, April 17 in the high school gym.
The prom lineup is at 5:15 p.m., at the junior high school entrance. The walk-in is 6 p.m. and the dance is from 7 to 11 p.m.
“We have close to 70 students signed up to come to prom, which is higher than what it usually is,” Senior Class Secretary Kristy Beene said.  “Outside visitors can come from other schools but (students) have to have a form from their dates school to make sure they are in good standings.”
“You can take pictures at walk-in of course, and if you would like to take pictures of the decorations in the gym, it will have to be when the students are not in the gym, before the walk-in at 6 p.m.” Alison Weston, class sponsor, said. “The  (pandemic) restrictions haven’t completely lifted, just a little more lax.”
The UHS seniors will be going on a senior trip towards the Branson area, April 23-25.
 Graduation will be Saturday, May 8 at 2 P.M. in the West Bourbon Elementary School Gym.
There are some pandemic restrictions for UHS graduation.
Each member of the senior class will have tickets for 14 people to attend, according to Superintendent Bret Howard and a ticket will be required for entry to graduation.
There are 43 juniors and 30  seniors at UHS.
The senior’s last day at school is May 6, and the district’s last day is May 19-with a 1 p.m. dismissal.


Bourbon County Commission Minutes of April 6

April 6, 2021                                                 Tuesday 9:00 am


The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with Commissioners Oharah and Harris present, (Commissioner Beth arrived at 9:20) the County Counselor and the County Clerk present.


Also present were the following: (some were present for a portion of the meeting and some were present for the entire meeting), Jason Silvers with the Fort Scott Tribune, Jeremy Frazier, Susan Bancroft and Nancy Van Etten.


Lynne made a motion to approve the minutes from the previous meeting, Jim seconded and all approved and signed the minutes.


Eric Bailey previously received a request to move an oversized load on the County roads; he said he has the insurance paperwork from this requestor and that Justin Meeks had reviewed and approved it.  Lynne made a motion to approve the moving permit, Jim seconded and the motion passed.


Eric Bailey reported that they have finished capping the C&D at the Landfill.


Eric reported three trees had fallen across the road last week, which they have pushed off of the side of the road.


Eric said they hope to be crushing at the Beth Quarry by the last part of the week.


Eric reported that the burner on the oil tank quit, but the part has been ordered for repairs.  He said they are working on repairs to the laydown machine.


Eric reported the low water crossing at 60th & Grand had given out, he said engineer Frank Young is involved and they are putting in temporary culverts there.


Eric asked Jim Harris about the crossing at 115th & Range to the north; Jim suggesting asking Frank Young to pull the review of this crossing.


Eric briefly discussed the windfarm project; he said the contractors are 13% complete on capping the roads and said they are working on 40th & 50th and at 39 & Cavalry Road.  He said weight limit signs have been put up at a few crossings.

Continue reading Bourbon County Commission Minutes of April 6

Bourbon County Commission Agenda for April 16 Special Meeting


Bourbon County Commission Room

1st Floor, County Courthouse

210 S. National Avenue

Fort Scott, KS 66701

Tuesdays starting at 9:00


Date: April 16, 2021


1st District-Lynne Oharah                                                                Minutes: Approved: _______________

2nd District-Jim Harris                                                                      Corrected: _______________________

3rd District-Clifton Beth                                                                              Adjourned at: _______________

County Clerk-Kendell Mason







Call to Order


  • Flag Salute
  • Executive Session – BWERKS


Justifications for Executive Session:

          KSA 75-4319(b)(1) To discuss personnel matters of individual nonelected personnel to protect their privacy

          KSA 75-4319(b)(2) For consultation with an attorney for the public body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship

          KSA 75-4319(b)(3) To discuss matters relating to employer-employee negotiations whether or not in consultation with the representative(s) of the body or agency

          KSA 75-4319(b)(4) To discuss data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trust, and individual proprietorships

          KSA 75-4319(b)(6) For the preliminary discussion of the acquisition of real property

          KSA 75-4319(b)(12) To discuss matters relating to security measures, if the discussion of such matters at an open meeting would jeopardize such security measures.

K-3 surface recycle to begin April 19


The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) plans to begin work on a K-3 resurfacing project on Monday, April 19. The project starts at the west K-3/K-39 junction and continues north to U.S. 54.


Project activity includes a one-inch surface recycle, followed by a chip seal. KDOT awarded the $868,508 construction contract to Dustrol Inc. of Towanda. Flaggers and a pilot car will direct one-lane traffic through the work zone; expect delays of 15 minutes or less. A 10-foot driving lane width restriction will also be in effect.


The road work should be completed in one month, weather permitting. Persons with questions may contact Iola Area Engineer Troy Howard, (620) 901-6557, or Public Affairs Manager Priscilla Petersen, (620) 902-6433.


Check KDOT’s updated traveler information website,, for more road condition and construction details. KDOT urges all motorists to be alert and obey the warning signs when approaching and driving through a work zone.