Category Archives: Bourbon County

Northwest Scott 4-H Gives Gifts to Adopt-A-Child Program

The Northwest Scott 4-H Club met for its regular monthly meeting on December 11, 2017, at the First Southern Baptist Church fellowship hall.

President Kaitlyn Hanks called the meeting to order with eight members present. The roll-call question was “What is your Christmas wish?” The secretary read the minutes from the last meeting, and the treasurer gave a report. Kaitlyn Hanks gave a project talk about performing arts and told us about her membership in the National Thespian Honor Society.

Abbie Collins did a demonstration about how to make Christmas bows. Members enjoyed both talks, but awarded the traveling trophy to Abbie Collins.

A motion was made and seconded for the meeting to adjourn. Presents were wrapped that had been purchased for eight children through the Adopt-A-Child program at the Beacon. After wrapping Christmas gifts,  special holiday snacks were shared that the members brought.

 Club Leader Rachel Wagner reminded members that the club  will lead the flag salute on Dec. 15 at the Wreaths Across America ceremony at Fort Scott National Cemetery.

Chamber Of Commerce Changes

Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Board Members present at the first coffee of 2018: from left front, Deb Needleman, Gina Shelton; back from left: Reta Baker, Alysia Johnston, Jody Hoener, Mark Lewis, Darcy Smith, and Gregg Motley. Members not present: Ken Anderson, Bob Beckham, David Lipe, Bill Michaud, Geoff Southwell, and Robert Uhler.

The Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce will have a new face welcoming the public at its office at 231 E. Wall and a new configuration of the building interior this year, along with some new divisions of the Chamber.

At the weekly Chamber coffee January 4,  Lindsay Madison, executive director of the Chamber, said Vonnie Rickerson will replace Allyson Turvey as the administrative assistant in the Chamber office starting January 8.

Vonnie Rickerson left, will be the new administrative assistant at the Chamber starting January 8. She is pictured with Lindsay Madison, right.

In an interview following the coffee, Madison said the public area of the Chamber building will be enlarged and the administrative assistant will be shifted to the left of the front door, while the tourism section will be moved to the north part of the building.

Turvey will change from a Chamber employee to a city employee.

“She will work 1/3 time for tourism, 1/3 time for economic development and 1/3 times for community development,” Madison said.

The enlargement of the public area is the result of Fort Scott becoming a regional tourism center with the State of Kansas.

“There are two other regional tourism centers in the state,” Madison said. “So there will be a lot more materials and signage, so there will be changes to the building.”

Also new this year, the Chamber board is adding an Ambassador Group “to be more in touch with our members,” Madison said. At the coffee meeting, she asked for volunteers to be an Ambassador.

Madison said the Chamber has selected a new mission statement as a result of the tourism section coming under the city direction.

Supporting businesses, building community and promoting town spirit is the new mission statement at the Chamber.

Announcements from the first Chamber Coffee of the year:

  • The Salvation Army Kettle Campaign this year netted $7,000, Allen Schellack said. Schellack is the director of Fort Scott Compassionate Ministries and the local agency for the SA.
  • The Young Professional League will soon be having its annual enchilada fundraiser in support of the Beacon, YPL Member Chris Petty said.
  • Zach Allen, Craw-Kan Telephone Cooperative, said that the company is bringing fiber optic services to the city’s businesses.
  • Live Local, a local grassroots group, will be a new division of the Chamber and will focus on local businesses, Gregg Motley said.
  • The annual Chamber dinner will be March 15, Motley said.

Pictured above, the attendees of the weekly Chamber coffee mingle before the meeting began.

Each week attendees may pay $1 and tell about an upcoming event, with proceeds going to support the Chamber trolley car.

The average attendance is 40-60 people, according to Madison.







KState Extension to Host Poultry Grower Meeting

Submitted by Christopher Petty

You may have heard that Tyson Foods has had an interest in constructing a processing plant in Kansas. While there are no immediate plans to do so, it may be a possibility in the future. Farmers within an approximate 60 mile radius of the processing facility may be able to become contract poultry growers.

To learn what it might be like to be a contract poultry grower, plan to attend a poultry grower meeting on Thursday, January 18, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Thayer Senior Center in Thayer, Kan. This program is hosted by the Southwind Extension District of K-State Research and Extension and the Allen and Neosho County Farm Bureaus. The program will feature K-State Research and Extension Poultry Specialist Dr. Scott Beyer. Dr. Beyer will be on hand to discuss a variety of topics such as a typical day in the poultry production, contracts, rules and regulations, management and facilities.

Space is limited, so please call the Southwind Extension District Erie Office at 620-244-3826 to register. For additional information, contact Southwind Extension District Agent for Livestock Production and Forage Management, Christopher Petty by e-mail at

K-State Specialists share tips for managing livestock in winter

Reducing animals’ stress during cold periods is a key goal

Livestock producers are entering a time of year that, because of winter weather, can often be challenging for maintaining the health of their herds, but a host of management steps and best practices can help to get the animals through the tough times.

“Talking to a regional climatologist, we foresee a lot of fluctuation in weather,” said A.J. Tarpoff, a beef veterinarian with K-State Research and Extension. “The fluctuations from warm to cold are stressful on any animal, so you have to be ready for that fluctuation.

“If it gets cold and it stays cold, we can manage that very easily. The animals get used to the cold, dry environment. But when we start mixing warm to cold, and a little bit of moisture – in other words, we combine wind, cold and a wet animal — that leads to a little bit of trouble.”

Livestock that can be housed indoors — such as chickens, swine and dairy cattle – may be protected from severe elements, but keeping them properly ventilated can be challenging.

“It’s hard to keep the fans and the ventilation adjusted appropriately because the incoming air is still somewhat warmer during the day, but then it cools off during the night as we get the different weather fronts coming through,” said Joel DeRouchey, a livestock specialist with K-State Research and Extension.

DeRouchey notes that fluctuations in indoor temperatures can cause mortalities in herds because the animals get stressed from the roller-coaster shifts.

“It’s just like humans, from the standpoint if they’re going through any stress, changes in the outside temperature leads to humans developing respiratory challenges,” he said. “It’s the same for livestock, whether they’re inside or outside.

“The most important thing is maintaining a constant temperature. The goal is to bring animals inside to protect them from the elements, so we need to make sure our ventilation systems are managed correctly to provide that ideal environment.”

DeRouchey said that indoor ventilation also is important to keep air moisture, odor and nitrogen levels low. For animals kept outside in feedlots, Tarpoff said one key is to provide dry bedding.

“Cattle have the right winter coat for cold weather, but whenever it starts to get windy, wet and cold, especially on frozen ground, the cattle want to find a nice, dry area to lie down and rest,” he said.

“Bedding those pens, giving them the opportunity to lie down and rest decreases the stress on those cattle and allows them to increase their comfort level so they can perform at a high rate even in stressful conditions.”

Tarpoff added that a box scraper is an important part of the equation in feedlots. Pens should be scraped routinely to level frozen areas, which will help to reduce foot injuries and the reluctance of animals to move to feed and water.

In outdoor pastures, the two K-State specialists suggest portable windbreaks, which provide shelter and can help with basic biosecurity.

“When cattle congregate in one area of the pasture for a long period of time, you build up environmental contaminates from manure,” Tarpoff said. “So move the portable windbreaks to different locations in the pasture so that you decrease the environmental contamination, which is especially important for newborn calves and control of scours.”

DeRouchey notes that portable windbreaks can force cattle to walk out of low areas to water and feed.

“It doesn’t hurt those cows to walk out of those low areas,” he said. “From an environmental standpoint, once we start providing a lot of feed or stationary feeders in those low areas, the manure buildup and the sanitation degrades really fast.”

During severe cold periods, producers need to feed a little more hay or other forage so that the animals’ natural heat source – the rumen – can do its work. Cattle may be fed near windbreaks during times of extreme cold and snow, but DeRouchey notes that shouldn’t happen very often during the season.

Tarpoff added that water is equally important for livestock in the winter months as it is in the summer months.

“They are eating a lot more, so they need to be able to drink a lot more to balance the body’s homeostasis,” he said. “Check waterers regularly that they are not frozen over, there’s plenty of flow, and there’s plenty of volume for animals to drink from. A frozen tank can be detrimental to any livestock operation.”

The two K-State specialists also shared some ideas to help producers get themselves through the colder months. Specific to the upcoming calving season, one tip is to feed cattle in the evenings.

“Changing our feeding strategies to the evening hours, right at dusk, will increase the number of calves born during the daylight hours, which is when the producers are out checking those cattle more regularly,” Tarpoff said.

DeRouchey also reminded producers to make sure flashlights are in working order, and store extra batteries and clothing in case they get stranded or need to be out for extended periods in cold and snowy weather.

Story by:

Pat Melgares

K-State Research and Extension

For more information:

Joel DeRouchey,, 785-532- 2280

AJ Tarpoff,, 785-532- 1255

Spradling Selected As New Bourbon County Attorney

Jacqueline Spradling is the new Bourbon County Attorney. Photo submitted by Deb Martin.

The next county attorney was chosen Thursday evening by the Bourbon County Republican Party at their convention, which was held at the Fort Scott Livestock Market.

Jacqueline Spradling, Spring Hill, was selected to be the next Bourbon County Attorney.

Thirty-four Republican Committeemen and Committeewomen votes were counted, with 23 votes going to Jacqueline Spradling.

“She threw her hat in the ring at noon today,” Gayle Sackett, Republican Party Chairman, said.

Spradling is replacing Justin Meeks, who remains as Bourbon County Counselor, but served in both capacities prior to January 2.

Spradling graduated in 1991 with a Juris Doctorate from Washburn University; 1998 with a Masters of Criminal Justice from Washburn University; 1989 with a BA degree in Psychology and Political Science from Washburn University; and in 1987  with an AA from Washburn University, according to information provided by Sackett.

Her experience is as follows:

  • 2017 to present – ASSISTANT COUNTY ATTORNEY. Allen County Attorney’s Office.
  • 2009 to 2017 – CHIEF DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY. Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office. In charge of all homicide prosecutions, Chief of the Cold Case Homicide Unit.
  • 2007 to 2009 – KANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE. Assistant Attorney General prosecuting cases of domestic violence. Extensive training was provided to law enforcement and prosecutors on the topic of domestic violence, in addition to carrying a caseload.
  • 1991 – 2007 – JOHNSON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE. Senior Trial Attorney and Section Chief in charge of the domestic violence unit. Previous responsibilities include Section Chief in charge of the Intern Program, Prosecutor on the Drug and White Collar Units.

Sackett, who was vice-chairman previously,  led the convention, stepping up after the sudden death of Republican Party Chairman Randall Readinger in late December.

Because of Readinger’s death, the convention was postponed a few days past Meeks last day of January 2.

Following Spradling’s  appointment, she will have to run in the November 2018 election, Sackett said.

A letter to certify the election will be sent tomorrow, then the governor will appoint Spradling.

Photos submitted by Vickie Shead.






KState Extension: New Year Resolutions for the Farmer

Submitted by: Carla Nemecek, Southwind Extension District, Director & Agent

Polls show that 88 percent of Americans make at least one New Year’s resolution. While resolutions can be as unique as the individual, the most popular resolutions are to eat healthier (55%), exercise more (50%), and lose weight (38%).

Although made with good intentions, most people fail to follow through in keeping their goals for the New Year. But that doesn’t mean our farmers and ranchers can’t be among the 20% of people who do actually achieve success with their resolutions.

Slow down.  Farmers are notorious for being in a rush – always too much to do and not enough time to get it done. I realize a farmer’s day doesn’t always go according to schedule, but if you can slow down you may save yourself time in the long run. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

Get organized. Get a new notepad or calendar to keep track of breeding dates, birthing dates, and dates that vaccinations were given. Personal experience says the intent to just remember that tag number and write it down once in the house is often forgotten. A handy calendar in the pickup or barn will encourage those things to be written down immediately.

Learn from past mistakes. I am guessing that many of us have something we wish we could change from the past year.  Whether it be remembering a birthday or communicating to family or employees, try to avoid making the same mistake twice. Think about one decision you would change from the past year and make and create a plan to correct it for 2018.

Create a marketing plan. This could be for either a crops or livestock operation. Will you be ready to price grain when you reach your price objective? Do you have a price objective? Can you market your cattle in a more efficient manner and gain more profits? If you have a plan, you will be more prepared when the markets change.

Eat healthier. I am certainly not a nutritionist, but it doesn’t take one to tell you that a can of soda is not healthy. Look for ways to eat healthier and drink plenty of water. You are a valuable resource to your farming operation and to your family.

Change one thing. Surely there is something on your farm or ranch that you’ve intended to correct or fix. Maybe the fence is in need of drastic repair, or the driveway needs a new load of gravel. Either way, find that one thing that you’ve intended to do and get it done. Commit to having it accomplished by a specific date and stick to it.

Spend time with family.  Kids grow fast and whether you are a parent or grandparent you surely realize the most precious gift is time. As the kid of a farmer, I can tell you that spending any time with Dad is valuable.  Give them a ride in the pickup on the way to the field or let them ride in the passenger seat of the tractor or combine. While you have some one-on-one time, talk to them and slow down enough to listen. This advice is good for your spouse too!

Learn something new. Living in the technology age, there really isn’t a good excuse for not knowing what is going on in the world around you. If you haven’t figured out how to use the internet, ask someone to show you how. You will be amazed at the information and resources available to you.

Another year has passed, and here we are at the beginning of 2018. This is surely to be a year of many good memories and experiences. For me, I hope it is a year of Patience – my personal resolution to make me a better mom, wife, friend and co-worker. Happy New Year!

Meeks Set To Focus On County Counselor Position

Justin Meeks resigned as Bourbon County Attorney on November 22, 2017, with an official last day January 2.

He has been doing both that job and the Bourbon County Counselor position since February 2015.

“Nobody can do both job functions,” Meeks said. “Because of the amount of time needed.  I wanted to do an A+ but couldn’t, with the hours involved.”

His focus now is administrative law.

Meeks will be giving the county legal advice about contracts, acquisition, and human resources, he said.

An example  is research on issues that come to the commission. “They (the Bourbon County Commission) have had me do a lot of research on fire districts,” he said.

“My goal is not to get the commissioners sued,” Meeks said with a laugh.

Meeks vacated his county attorney office Tuesday. He will be working out of the second floor of the courthouse.

The required hours for the counselor position is 25 per week. But “I’ve always worked more than the expected hours,” he said.

For this position, he will be paid $64,000 a year.

“That works out to be $48 per billable hours,” he said.

Meeks said nearby Allen County has a part-time county attorney that makes $70,000, a part-time assistant county attorney that makes somewhere in the “upper $50,000s.”  And also a county counselor that makes $58,000.

The Bourbon County Attorney position is  $50,230, he said, with 35 hours required per week.

Meeks said he is “excited” about the counselor position focus.

“There is a lot of good things going on in Bourbon County,” he said. “The airport expansion, (on that project) the city and county will be working together. There are two bridges to replace in the county. There is exciting economic development in the county.”

Additionally, “I hope the county will be a part of reducing the overall tax liability for the county,” he said.

Meeks is a 1992 Fort Scott High School graduate, a 1994 Fort Scott Community College graduate, a 1996 Lindenwood University (St. Charles, MO) graduate with a BA in education. He then earned a Master’s in Business Administration in 1998 and then graduated from Washburn University in 2001 with a law degree.  He was in private practice from 2003 to 2014.

“I’ve been back to Fort Scott since November 2005,” Meeks said. “I have a three-year-old son. He is the joy of my life. I plan on living in Fort Scott the rest of my life and raising my son with whom I share joint custody.”

“I hope the next county attorney takes the job as serious as I have the last three years,” he said. “I am looking forward to being able to serve in one job function.”

New County Attorney Chosen Tonight

The next county attorney will be chosen tonight by the Bourbon County Republican Party at their convention at the Fort Scott Livestock Market.

The Republican Party Chairman Randall Readinger passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in late December.

Gayle Sackett, who was vice-chairman, will lead the convention.

Because of Readinger’s death, the convention was postponed a few days past Meeks last day of January 2.

Following the appointment of a new county attorney, that person will “have to run in the next election,” in November, Meeks said.







This Week In Fort Scott By the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce

Fort Scott Middle School Pizza Hut Night

Chamber Coffee, hosted by the Chamber Board of Directors at the Chamber, 231 E. Wall St., 8am

4 Coffee with Doug, live music at Common Ground Coffee Co., 7pm

(Dangerous Doug Harper of Nevada, MO)
5-6 Livestock Sale, Fort Scott Livestock Market, 2131 Maple Rd., 10am
6 The Bunker Conceal Carry Class, 8am, $75 fee
6 Boiler Room Brewhaus Grand Opening, 11am, 102 S. National Ave., music, food & craft beer
Upcoming Events:
1/8 Informational Breakfast: Stay Strong, Stay Healthy Strength Training Class for Older Adults, Buck Run
1/9 Quarterly Downtown Meet & Greet, Papa Don’s, 10 N. Main St., 8:30am
1/11 Biggest Loser Competition Begins at Buck Run, $15
1/12 Theology on Tap, Papa Don’s Pizza, 10 N. Main St., 7pm
1/15 Lunch & Learn, Martin Luther King Jr. Day speaker, Gordon Parks Museum, FSCC Ellis Fine Arts Building, 12pm


Microbrewery Opens January 6

Bryan and Barbara Ritter stand in the taproom of the Boiler Room Brewhaus.

This Saturday, January 6, Fort Scott’s first microbrewery will open at 11 a.m.

Named the Boiler Room Brewhaus, the brewery is located in the lower level of the Beaux Arts Center, 102 S. National. Entry is from the alley on the south.

Public parking is at First and National Streets and additionally,  Judson and Second Streets nearby. The Fort Scott Post Office parking lot is off-limits, however it is through the post office parking lot that one must enter the facility.

“It’s  a comfy atmosphere,” Barbara Ritter, who along with her sister-in-law Peggy Ritter are the owners, said. “No TV’s. We want to encourage people to talk to each other.”

In addition there will be board games.

There is a 40 person capacity in the tap-room, she said.

Right now, Barbara’s husband Bryan Ritter is the primary brewer.

He is making ales.

“Beers fall into two categories,” Bryan Ritter said. “Ales and lagers…most people in Bourbon County drink lagers such as Budweiser and Coors. I’m not going to focus on that right now.”

The cooler seasons are ale seasons, Bryan said.

“You want something thicker and richer,” he said. “There is 4-6 percent alcohol content.” He can produce one barrel per brewing session or about 33 gallons.

For opening night, they will have close to 100 gallons, he said.

In addition, Jake Johnson will provide the music that evening.

Only prepared snacks will be offered in the taproom with the beer.

“By Bourbon County law, 30 percent of sales have to be in food,” Barbara said. “We don’t want to be a restaurant. So we are hoping  to get some support by getting it put on the ballot to change the law for microbreweries.”

The hours for the brewery are Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday, 12 to 7 p.m.

Bryan Ritter holds a handful of toasted malt barley in the brew room of the Boiler Room Brewhaus. The hops Ritter uses is from the Kansas Hop Company, Ottawa.  The Honey Weiss he produces is from honey produced on the Ritter property, south of Fort Scott, Black Dogs Farm. Visitors can view the brewing system as they come in the brewery.
Barbara Ritter shows the jars that people may take the brew home in.
One of the three flavors currently offered at the Boiler Room Brewhaus.
Original web page

113 S National Ave

Fort Scott, Kansas

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A Healthier Workplace

Fort Scott Firefighter Colten Hoggatt works out at the Fort Scott Fire Department fitness room Wednesday. The City of Fort Scott has implemented a wellness policy to incent its employee’s  to get fit.

Recently, the City of Fort Scott Commissioners implemented a  policy to engage employees in becoming more fit.

This was in response to the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team challenging businesses to develop wellness policies, Deb Needleman, human resources director with the city, said.

Other entities challenged to promote wellness and physical activity were Fort Scott Community College, Mercy Hospital, USD 234, USD 235, Peerless Products Inc., McDonald’s Restaurant, Landmark Bank and Ward Kraft Inc.

“Fort Scott Community College passed their policy recently, too,” Jody Hoener,  administrator for the Bourbon County Healthy Pathway Grant from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kansas Insurance, said. “I talked to (FSCC President) Alysia Johnston, who said they have started painting the room where their (fitness) equipment will be,” Hoener said.

“We are setting up policies to encourage employees to exercise at least three hours per week,” Needleman said. “We’ll be rolling the policy out in January to our employees.”

For her part, Needleman has started CrossFit training.

“The policy will encourage me to do CrossFit three times per week,” she said. “But any moderate physical activity that gets the heart rate going,” will work.

If she continues her fitness program for the whole month, “The following month I’ll get an incentive, a $20 reimbursement in expenses,” Needleman said.

This money can be spent on “fitness club membership, shoes, a new tire for a bicycle or anything related to physical activity”, she said.

The outcome of the policy implementation is expected to be an increase in the level of activity which is intended to help the bottom line of each entity that participates.

“When you have healthy activity, employees are more productive, there are lower health care costs and lower employee absenteeism and higher employee retention,” Needleman said.

For the incentives, employees must meet the criteria set forth in the policy, and Needleman acknowledges that not everyone will.

The policy is not mandatory, Needleman said.

Still, the city has set aside $9,000 to $15,000 in its’ budget to incent employees to get more active.

The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team will survey the city staff in August or September 2018 to find out if the level of activity has increased and thereby are approaching or meeting national standards, Needleman said.

“We will look at and re-evaluate the policy at that time,” Needleman said.

“We were about one-half of the national standard,” when surveyed prior to implementation of the policy,  she said.

Increasing activity is the goal of year one of the policy, Needleman said.

“Year two, we will look at nutrition,” she said. “Healthy eating, food choices in the workplace.”

“Year three we will look at tobacco cessation,” she said.

Each worksite is eligible for $10,000 to implement a wellness policy  Hoener said.

Firefighter Colten Hoggatt, 25, pictured, works out even on his days off for about one hour, he said. The fire department has a separate building on site that it uses as a fitness room.

Fort Scott Fire Department Captain Dale Bolinger said the fire department currently tracks physical activity of each employee and that information is included in their employment evaluation.


KState Extension: Low-Cost Tree and Shrub Seedlings Now Available

Submitted by Krista Harding, Southwind Distrist

The Kansas Forest Service is offering low-cost conservation tree and shrub seedlings for purchase again this year. These seedlings are to be used in conservation plantings, such as home/livestock windbreaks, living snow fences, Christmas tree plantations, firewood lots, habitats for game birds and wildlife, barriers to reduce noise pollution, blocking ugly views, marking property lines and creating habitat for songbirds.

These plants are 1 or 2 years old, and their sizes vary from 5 to 18 inches, depending on species. Most of the trees are bare-root seedlings, however some are available as container-grown seedlings such as Ponderosa pine and Southwestern white pine. Some of the deciduous trees that are available include: bald cypress, black walnut, bur oak, cottonwood, hackberry, redbud and sycamore. Shrubs available include American plum, choke cherry, lilac and sand hill plum.

This is not a complete listing of available trees and not all trees are recommended for this area. The Kansas Forest Service also offers tree “bundles” for purchase. The bundles offer a variety of trees designed to attract songbirds or quail. For example, the Songbird bundle contains 18 trees and shrubs selected for their attractiveness to songbirds. The Songbird bundle does not contain sufficient plants to meet all of the needs of songbirds, but once established, the bundle will create a small island of plants that will provide some year-round cover and supplemental food during late summer, fall and winter. This will attract birds for your enjoyment.

Not certain what you would like to order? Then stop by the Extension office and pick up a brochure that has color pictures of various trees and shrubs at maturity. Orders for conservation trees are accepted now through the first full week of May, with shipments beginning in March. However, I recommend that you order early to ensure availability of trees. Order forms and price sheets are available at the Southwind District Extension Office in Erie, Iola and Fort Scott, or can be mailed or e-mailed.

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