Allen Schellack wears many hats, all of them serving his community in some way.
He coordinates Fort Scott Compassionate Ministries(FSCM), Bourbon County Salvation Army, and Care Portal.
Schellack is also a part of the Fort Scott Ministerial Alliance. He attends the Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene.
“I don’t know how to say ‘no’,” Schellack told the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Coffee attendees on Jan. 16. FSCM hosted the coffee on that day along with the Senior Citizens Center.
“My wife bought me a ‘no’ button,” he said with a smile.
But it doesn’t seem to be working.
“Compassion is an important part of what we do,” Shellack said. “We are looking at how to be more effective in the community.”
“Our biggest need in the community is freedom from drugs and alcohol, and respect for each other and themselves,” he said.
“I can pray and give caring support or a place to encourage you that you are worth something,” he said.
His office, where he coordinates all the ministries, is upstairs at the Senior Citizens Center, 26 N. Main.
From here he oversees assistance to foster families, homeless individuals, and services through the other community partnerships.
FSCM teamed with CarePortal, an online church engagement tool that connects the child welfare workers to churches. The portal makes churches aware of needs and gives the opportunity to respond to those needs. There are about six churches in Bourbon County who help in this way.
He also provides services to homeless people, along with hygienic supplies, phone access and fellowship.
Last year, the ministry also helped with needed supplies to students and assisted families at Christmas time.
FSCM is the designated Salvation Army Disaster Relief and Services Extension Unit for Bourbon County.
This is where the annual Salvation Army bell-ringing fundraiser comes into play that Schellack coordinates.
At the Jan. 16 Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Coffee, Schellack thanked all those who volunteered at Christmas, ringing the bells for the Salvation Army.
“We didn’t meet our goal but did raise over $7,000 to help the community for crisis times,” he said. Through SA, he can provide disaster relief assistance, rental/utility assistance, prescriptions, temporary lodging, gasoline for work or doctor, eyeglass help and other unspecified needs on a case by case basis.
The Fort Scott Ministerial Alliance gathers once a month and they have a hospitality fund that helps transients who are “stuck here in town, we help them get on their way,” he said.
Fort Scott City Manager Dave Martin, a coffee attendee, thanked Schellack for all the services he provides the community.
FSCM is a volunteer organization, with no paid staff. The services are provided through local churches and community partners.
The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce has been working to encourage entrepreneurship and matching skills to local employers’ needs in 2019, according to information provided during the Jan. 9 Chamber coffee.
Two new programs were added to the community this year: Bourbon County E-Community and Work Ready Community. The focus of the two is enhancing local economic development through entrepreneurship and workforce development.
Loans for Businesses Through Entrepreneur Community
Bourbon County E-Community provides access to funds, which are locally administered through the Chamber. These loans included start-up businesses as well as existing business purchases or expenses. The funds are accessed through NetWork Kansas, whose mission statement is to promote an entrepreneurial environment throughout the state that connects entrepreneurs and small business owners with expertise, education, and economic resources.
Those who have received these loans in Fort Scott from July 1 to Dec. 31:
Smallville Crossfit, an E-Community Loan of $40,000.
Luther’s BBQ, an E-Community Loan of $45,000.
Smallville Crossfit, a start-up loan of $25,000.
Lulther’s BBQ, a start-up loan of $30,000.
Margo’s LLC (a salon and spa), an E-Community Load of $39,000.
Other events in support of E-Community: a luncheon to educate on the loan program, an entrepreneur appreciation luncheon, a semi-monthly local newspaper ad promoting the loans, and planning for a Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, in partnership with Fort Scott High School (judging for the challenge will be March 11, 2020.)
Work Ready Community
Work Ready Community is a nation-wide program to aid matching people to a job that needs their skills and preparing people to have the skills that employers need.
Work Ready Communities is working at the grassroots level to make the country more competitive and closing the skills gap that threatens to paralyze the U.S. economy, according to its website. They do this by providing a community-based framework.
Bourbon County became a Work Ready Community in Sept. 2019.
A group of 10 people from Bourbon County, USD 234, USD235, Fort Scott Community College, the City of Uniontown and local employers attended a Work Ready Community Workshop in August 2019.
Kansas initiated an initiative for high school juniors to take the Work Keys test and earn certification. The certification is to improve hiring and employee retention, help provide employees who have the skills needed and help students attain success in landing a career.
To view the Chamber leadership this year,click below:
Many people use the terms “credit report” and “credit score” interchangeably, but they are not the same. Your credit report is a detailed account of your credit history, while your credit score is a three-digit number signifying your credit-worthiness. You are entitled to three free credit reports per year, but you generally have to pay to view your score. Although a credit score is a useful piece of information, it is ultimately calculated using the information in your credit report. Therefore, paying for a credit score is typically unnecessary, but ensuring the accuracy of the underlying data in the report is crucial.
What is a credit report? Your credit report is a collection of all of your credit activities within the past 7-10 years. It includes your payment history for your credit cards and other loans such as auto loans and mortgages; public records related to your finances such as bankruptcies, tax liens, and court judgements; and a record of everybody who has looked at your report within the past two years. You can request one free credit report every year at AnnualCreditReport.com from each of the three main credit agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Companies use the information in your credit report to calculate credit scores.
What is a credit score? Your credit score is calculated using the information in your credit report. Financial institutions use your credit score to decide whether to offer you a loan or credit card. Your credit score also determines the interest rates and credit limits that financial institutions offer to you. Although many people believe they have one credit score, in fact everybody has several credit scores–different companies calculate your credit score in different ways. Your scores change constantly based on your financial activities. Regardless of the agency, your score will consist of five main components: payment history, amount of current debt, length of credit history, amount of new credit, and types of credit used. Companies use each of these components to calculate a three-digit score, ranging from a low around 300 to a high around 900, which again varies across different types of scores. In the United States, the most widely used credit score is the FICO score. Your credit score is not available for free through AnnualCreditReport.com.
How can I improve my score? You can improve your score by paying your bills on time, using less of your available credit balance, not opening multiple credit accounts over a short period of time, keeping older credit cards open, and using different types of credit responsibly.
It is important to check your credit report regularly to make sure it is accurate and up-to-date. K-State Research and Extension Check Your Credit email program is free and registration is easy, visit southwind.k-state.edu under Upcoming Events.
According to Mary Drewnoski, University of Nebraska Beef Systems Specialist, cold stress increases a cow’s energy requirement and can pull down her body condition. We think many cow/calf producers will experience this issue this winter. While we don’t know what mother, nature has in store for us this year, it is good to think ahead and have a plan. A good start is to evaluate body condition score (BCS) now, and if cows are not at a 5 to 5.5 body condition score, then taking steps to improve body condition score before cold weather hits can help reduce the impacts of cold weather on the cows. Your local extension agricultural agent can assist you determining the body condition score of your cattle if needed.
The threshold at which cattle have to start using energy to maintain their body temperature is called the lower critical temperature (LCT). Cows in good condition which have a heavy winter coat that is dry, do not need to use extra energy to maintain body temperature until the wind chill index is below 19°F.
Having cows in good body condition is a risk management strategy and affects the lower critical temperature. A thin cow with a body condition score of 4 and a dry winter coat has a lower critical temperature of 27°F versus the 19°F of a cow in body condition score 5. Getting cows into good condition early in the winter can be useful for managing risk of bad weather, in that they have condition they can lose, but also because cows with higher body condition score will lose less than those with lower body condition. Additionally, a practical management strategy may be to consider putting thin cows in a group with your first calf heifers as both have higher energy requirements in the winter, which can allow for strategic supplementation of extra feed.
It is also important to understand that a wet hair coat is a completely different ball game. A wet coat increases the lower critical temperature of a cow in good condition to 53°F. Thus, anytime a cow’s coat is wet in the winter they will be using more energy to maintain body temperature. Therefore, in winters with more precipitation, especially freezing rain, we often see much greater decreases in body condition score.
By providing wind protection, you can decrease energy needs by removing wind as a negative factor. If cows have protection from wind, the ambient temperature can be used to determine energy needs. Providing wind protection in the winter can be huge for reducing supplementation needs due to cold wind chills.
It is not advisable to change rations daily, but for extended cold or wet periods, consider feeding more of the same ration, if cattle can eat more of the typical ration. If not, then providing an energy supplement is a good idea. When feeding lower quality hay, dormant range or corn stalks, additional feed will be needed. One option is to change to feeding a higher quality hay source, if available. Free choice really high-quality hay can work down to temperatures of -15°F for cows in good body condition with dry hair or 19°F with good body condition and wet hair. Only by forage testing can you determine actual nutritional value, see your extension office for more information about forage testing.
If cows are grazing, then supplementation with a high energy feed may be desirable. While corn can be used to provide more energy, it comes with risk. Feeding more than 2 to 3 pounds per animal per day can decrease forage digestion, and upset stomachs, especially if the forage is lower in protein. This means that one could make up the difference of about 15°F between the lower critical temperature of the cow and the wind chill index temperature. For a cow in body condition score of 5 with a dry coat, corn supplementation would cover the increased energy requirement down to 5°F, or for a cow with a wet hair coat only to about 38°F. If using corn, it should be fed daily, starting with a low amount, and slowly increased over time.
Distillers grains are another option. Distillers is a good source of energy, it has more energy than corn, and because it is high in protein, it does not cause as much of a substitution effect (will not decrease intake of the forage much) Limitations on the amount of distillers that could be fed would be more based on budgetary concerns than digestive effects.
When wind chill temperatures are extremely cold or the cow has a wet hair coat, a lot of supplement would be needed to make up the greater energy needs and maintain body condition. For instance, if the wind chill was -10°F and the cows had a wet hair coat, 8.6 pounds of dry distillers would be needed to account for the increased energy requirement. However, feeding these levels is likely impractical. A better approach would be to provide a smaller amount of supplemental feed and to continue to feed the extra feed after the weather has moderated to allow cows to regain energy lost during the storm.
It is also important to remember that milking cows have a much greater energy requirement than pregnant cows, not yet milking. Given this, the combination of cold stress and lactation can pull down body condition score very quickly. Thus, if lactating (milking) cows are also subjected to cold stress, increasing their energy intake prior to observing noticeable loss of body condition is advisable. For questions on body condition scoring, lower critical temperature, or supplemental feeding, contact your local extension office.
Bourbon County Sheriff Bill Martin is unhappy with the raises of administrative county employees, he said. He would have preferred giving input into raises in his office, including the one given him by the Bourbon County Commissioners.
A raise for elected officials became effective Dec. 15, 2019, according, to Bourbon County Commission minutes. This raised the clerk and treasurer’s salary to $47,248 annually, the register of deeds to 44,821 and the sheriff’s salary to $60,000.
Martin said in his budget request he had asked for a three-percent raise for all his employees.
“I did not request that large amount” for the sheriff’s position, he said.
There were no across-the-board raises given by the commission.
Martin said he was not aware of any raises until he received an email from Bourbon County Clerk Kendall Mason on Dec. 18, 2019.
“At no other time was any raise amount ever discussed with me by the commission, not for myself or any member of my staff,” Martin said. ” I attended several commission meetings where I questioned the commission on budget figures for 2020 and, as usual, I was not ever given any answers. At no time after I submitted my 2020 budget did anyone on the commission engage myself or my jail administration in salary discussions.”
In 2015 Martin had paid for a wage comparison survey and presented it to that Bourbon County Commission because he wanted to bring the salaries of the county employees as a whole up to standard amounts.
He felt it fell on “deaf ears” at the time, he said. It was a different set of commissioners.
For the 2020 Sheriff’s Office budget he had requested a three percent raise for his employees.
Instead, Martin’s salary was raised from $45,000 to $60,000.
He contends that discussions with him and his staff would have been beneficial to the decision making process.
“I am never provided with verbal information or written information as to where the money is put, cut or moved to in the budgets,” Martin said. “My door is always open for any discussion.”
Martin has two salaried employees.
“One of the two fell below the new income guideline set by the Federal Wage Law and the US Department of Labor,” Martin said. “A captain at the correctional center fell under this ‘salaried employee category’ and therefore is required by law to have a salary increase. If this wage increase is not performed, this employee would be eligible for overtime. I can assure you that increasing this wage is far less harmful than allowing this employee to request overtime hours for all the overtime he works. I am still unaware if this salary increase has been added to the correctional center budget. The commission was made aware of this federal law… several months ago.”
Martin said the responsibility of the sheriff’s office falls to him.
“I am the face and the buck stops with me, so to speak, but they are the men and women with their lives on the line every, single day and every single night. Christmas, Easter, Monday through Sunday. They sign up to make a difference in their community where they live. It’s nice to be thanked and appreciated and compensated to prove yourself worthy.”
The county has two many administrative positions, Martin said.
“Our county is now so top-heavy with administration that the people in the offices and on the road and doing the jobs are unable to receive any fair raises and are far from a competitive wage for the jobs they are doing,” Martin said. “Our county has a road and bridge supervisor that makes over $60,880 a year plus benefits. This county has a part-time, county counselor who makes $64,000 a year for 25 hours a week and has a private practice on the side; this is in addition to the county attorney who makes $50,000 a year. This county now pays (not attacking the person) an economic development director… $70,000 a year plus benefits. As of January 1, we have a sheriff making $60,000., a county clerk, making $47,248 a treasurer making that same amount and a register of deeds making $44,821…We have three county commissioners who make $21,416 (each) per year plus benefits, which is another $64,248 plus benefits in a year.”
” I have been requesting additional deputies every year since I have taken office and every year, I am told that there is no money to spend, budgets are close, overspending and overtime are out of control,” Martin said. “Yet, we have almost $200,000 in salaries for administrative staff, who hold jobs that should be performed by our road and bridge director and crews, the elected county clerk, our elected county attorney, and our elected county commission. $200,000 would pay for other staff raises, staff who are on the ground working.”
“It would pay for a much-needed school resource officer for Uniontown Schools plus a courthouse security officer, which is mandated by the state,” he said. “I cannot get anyone to understand that when you pay a deputy a $35,000 a year salary, you are better off to hire two more deputies on the force and reducing the $60,000 in overtime pay. I am contending that if they would not have raised my pay $15,000, they could have very easily allowed me to hire one new deputy and they would have been ahead money. Where did all this money come from and how do we put these jobs back in the hands of the people who were elected to do them and eliminate all the huge salaries that we are paying right now.”
The sheriff’s office operates around the clock much like an ambulance service or hospital does, he said. And some of his employees are struggling financially.
“People do a great job for great pay,” Martin said. “People do a decent job for decent pay and proud people show up to work to draw a wage rather than go on welfare. Some of my employees can claim state insurance benefits for their families and that is shameful to think that we cannot provide a wage above the poverty level… I also have other employees who work two and three jobs and I cannot control what my employees do outside their duty time… during my time as a deputy, I worked three jobs to provide for my family and pay my bills.”
The Uniontown FFA Meat Evaluation team recently brought home 4th place honors at the National Western Roundup Meat Evaluation contest held in Fort Collins, Colorado. Uniontown earned the opportunity to represent the state of Kansas in the contest with their state runner-up finish this past May.
The contest consisted of placing classes, beef grading, retail identification, questions, meat formulation problems and a written exam. After completing all of the above on Saturday, January 11th on the campus of Colorado State University, the team ranked 3rd in Beef Grading, 4th in Placings, 6th in Retail Identification and 4th overall.
Clay Brillhart led the team individually with a 7th place finish overall. He also ranked 8th in the placing category and 8th in the retail identification division. Maddie Ard finished 17th overall, Braden Griffiths was 5th in Beef Grading and ranked 21st overall, and Logan Geiger ranked 24th in Retail Identification. The team is coached by Uniontown FFA Advisor Scott Sutton.