Category Archives: Bourbon County

Fairgrounds Dedicates New Pavilion

The Bourbon County Fair Board and other 4-H and fair participants dedicated the fairgrounds’ new Hubenett Pavilion Saturday evening, celebrating its completion in time for the 2017 County Youth Fair.

The open, covered pavilion with lighting provides a place for organizations, families or other groups to gather at the fairgrounds. The need for such a place was recognized after the completion of the 2016 fair.

“It will be a place to gather and make friendships and memories,” Darrel George said of the pavilion, which will be open to anyone in the community.

The pavilion was named after Terry “Slim” Hubenett, a long-term volunteer at the fairgrounds who donated hours of service to the grounds and the youth and parents involved in 4-H.

George said Hubenett was always available and willing to help with any project, maintenance or other need, even as far as removing a nest of bumblebees. Hubenett remained active in participating until a stroke prevented him from helping as frequently, though he still attends fair board meetings.

“Terry loves the county fair, he loves the 4-Hers, and he also loves the parents and the grandparents,” George said. “We appreciate your years of service.”

Volunteers worked on the pavilion while other donors provided funding and supplies. Those interested in booking the pavilion for an event can contact the fair board.

The county fair started Saturday morning with the dog show. Other events continue throughout the week at the fairgrounds. Check the Facebook page for photos of the events.

KState Extension: 4-H and County Fair Objectives

Submitted by; Carla Nemecek, Southwind District Director & Agent
County Fair season is just around the corner! The week that nearly every 4-H member has worked and waited for since the fair ended last year. It is a time of year when youth from across the county get together to showcase their projects, but more importantly, it is a time for 4-H families to be together.

We have an awesome group of leaders and parents who work hard to make sure the kids are attending monthly meetings, participating in leadership activities and working “To Make the Best Better.” Participation in county fairs is an opportunity and privilege for 4-H members. If they choose to participate, they are in effect asking for an adult to give his or her opinion regarding the quality of their exhibit or participation. Having asked for this opinion, they should accept it gracefully and learn from it.
The county fair is an important piece of the total 4-H program, and in most cases is the most visible.  At the fair, 4-H members have several opportunities:
✓    Show what they’ve learned and accomplished in 4-H to the public.
✓    Develop project skills.
✓    Develop responsibility and self-confidence.
✓    Gain knowledge, counsel and encouragement from judges and others.
✓    Develop leadership skills by assuming fair responsibilities and working together with others.
✓    Learn new and better methods.
✓    Compare their work with a “standard” and with other 4-H’ers.
✓    Receive recognition and learn the importance of being both a good winner and a good loser.
✓    Share ideas and make friends with other 4-H members.
Leaders, parents and Extension professionals also have objectives for the County Fair, including:
✓    To help youth develop knowledge and practical skills in science and technology.
✓    To stimulate the personal growth and physical, mental and behavioral development of youth.
✓    To help youth become responsible citizens.
✓    To develop effective adult and youth leadership.
Remember, each of our 4-H members are responsible for their exhibit. Good sportsmanship means they took the time to listen to the judges’ critique and learn from another’s viewpoint. No one is to blame when a project doesn’t come together like we had expected—but oftentimes more is learned from the project that receives more criticism.  While some of our 4-H members are proud of their projects, others may be disappointed, I expect every competitor to be gracious—regardless of the ribbon they take home.
There are many opportunities to attend County Fair events in the Southwind District, and you can find County Fair schedules on our website, Bourbon County will kick things off July 15-21, followed by Neosho County July 20-24, and Allen County will wrap up the county fair season in the Southwind District on July 27-31.

Sheriff’s Department Gives Tours of New Center

The Bourbon County Sheriff’s Office provided tours of the new Law Enforcement Center Thursday during the weekly Chamber Coffee, and continues to provide tours for those from the public interested in seeing the work done so far on the building.

“I just can’t thank you guys enough for getting us to where we’re at,” Sheriff Bill Martin said, saying it is because of the county leaders and the voters and county residents that the new building is being constructed.

Employees of the Sheriff’s Office are expected to be able to move into the new building in October, when they will begin training with the new building and equipment before moving the inmates in by the new year.

“It’s going to be an awesome facility,” City Manager Dave Martin said, praising those involved with the project.

KSU Extension: Summer Plant Problems Emerging

Submitted by Krista Harding

Summer is officially upon us now, and it has brought some common plant problems with it. We have had plenty of moisture and to date, our plants haven’t really had to be “tough” yet this growing season. Now that the temperatures have risen and we are not getting rain quite as often, some plants are starting to show environmental stress.

I have started getting calls about Walnut and River Birch trees having problems. The trees have yellow leaves scattered throughout the canopy and some are dropping leaves. How do you know if this is a serious problem for a tree? Generally speaking, it depends on the tree species and if the leaves stay attached to it. If leaves have fallen from throughout the tree and resulted in a general thinning of leaves, this is not a serious problem. Trees will often set more leaves in the spring than they can support during the summer. Heat and drought stress will cause the tree to lose leaves that it cannot support with the available soil moisture. Remember that our plants haven’t had to be “tough” yet. We can have green leaves drop that appear perfectly healthy. As long as the leaf drop results in a gradual thinning of the leaves, this is not a serious problem and the tree should be fine.

Sometimes, virtually all of the leaves drop. Certain trees, such as hackberry, can drop all of their leaves and enter summer dormancy. We are a bit early in the summer for this to occur, but it may happen soon if we turn off really hot and dry. If trees are affected by summer dormancy, they should still have supple twigs and healthy buds. Usually the effect on the health of the tree is very minor and the tree leafs out normally next spring. However, if the buds die and the twigs become brittle, at least part of the tree is dead.

Trees that have leaves that die and remain attached to the tree is a serious problem. Sometimes this happens in what seems like just overnight. In a case like this, the tree couldn’t keep up with moisture demands and died quickly. I have seen one case of this already. I believe it was due to the cold snap last December 18, when we got very close to zero temperatures. Damage to underlying tissues is the root cause of this problem.

Another problem that is starting to appear this time of year is two tomato leaf-spot diseases. Septoria leaf spot and early blight are both characterized by brown spots on the leaves. Septoria leaf spot is characterized by small dark spots whereas early blight spots are much larger and have distorted “target” pattern of concentric circles. These diseases usually start at the bottom of the plant and work up. Mulching, caging or staking to keep plants off the ground will make them less vulnerable to diseases by providing better air circulation so the foliage can dry quicker. Mulching also helps prevent water from splashing and carrying disease spores to the plant.

In situations where these diseases have been a problem in the past (or even this year), rotation is a good strategy. Obviously it is too late for that this year. Fungicides are often helpful. The active ingredient Chlorothalonil is a good choice to use. It can be found in numerous products including Fertilome Broad-Spectrum Landscape and Garden Fungicide; Ortho Garden Disease Control; Bonide Fungonil and others. Be sure to start protecting the plants when the disease is first noticed. It is all but impossible to control these diseases on heavily infected plants. Read labels for harvest waiting periods.

Don’t forget that most of the Extension services are free of charge! If you are experiencing plant problems, don’t hesitate to give me a call for diagnosis.

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

KState Extension to Host Alternative Crop Event

Submitted by Christopher Petty

As summertime temperatures heat up, cool season farm and ranch pastures begin to lose productivity.

This can cause us to think about other ways to stretch or improve our ability to feed livestock. One possibility is alternative (cover) crops for livestock feeds. These crop mixes often include legumes, grasses and brassicas (turnips or radishes). Planted in the fall, these mixes can provide extra feed to help conserve or extend limited feed resources.

To learn more about these alternative crop mixes, join the K-State Research and Extension –Southwind District on Thursday, July 13, at 6 p.m. This meeting, which includes a meal, is sponsored by Landmark National Bank and will feature K-State Research and Extension Southeast Area Livestock Specialist Jaymelynn Farney. Dr. Farney will discuss research data relating to actual cover crop trials. The program will take place at the 4-H Building in Fort Scott, Kansas and a $10.00 fee, payable at the door, will cover the cost of meals and materials. Please pre-register by calling the Southwind District –Fort Scott Office at 620-223- 3720.

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,

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

Grass Carp and Algae Control for Ponds

Submitted by Christopher Petty

Grass Carp

Grass carp, a fish species native to Asia, feed on aquatic plants and filamentous algae. Grass carp are biological tools used to control nuisance growth. Grass carp stocked into Washington lakes must be certified disease-free and sterile. Fish farmers create sterile fish (called triploids because they have an extra set of chromosomes) by subjecting fish eggs to temperature or pressure shock. Testing verifies that grass carp are sterile. Lake managers use grass carp to control the excessive growth of aquatic plants. Grass carp exhibit definite food preferences and consume some aquatic plant species more readily than others. Grass carp may control filamentous algae, although filamentous algae is not a preferred food. Grass carp may eat aquatic plants before eating filamentous algae. Some reports indicate that adding grass carp to a lake may promote the growth of other algae.


Pond owners can remove filamentous algae from the water using a sturdy rake with a rope attached to the end. The operator throws the rake into the water and pulls the rake and filamentous algae to shore. Compost the algae and use it in the garden. Raking is effective for small areas of filamentous algae but is time consuming and labor intensive when controlling larger areas. In addition, filamentous algae grow back quickly and may move around the water body through wind and wave action. Sometimes raking becomes a never-ending chore during summer months. Also, raking cannot remove blue-green algae and many other types of algae.

For more information on pond weeds, join the K-State Research and Extension –Southwind District for an informational pond weed meeting at the Yeager Building, located on the Bourbon County fairgrounds, in Fort Scott, Kan. This meeting featuring K-State Research and Extension Wildlife Specialist Charlie Lee and sponsored by Miller Feed and Farm, will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday June 8. A ten dollar registration fee, payable at the door will cover meals and materials. Please preregister for a meal by calling 620-223- 3720 or e-mailing Southwind Extension District Agent for Livestock Production and Forage Management Christopher Petty at

Commission Removes Previous Position

Environmental Service Coordinator Eric Bailey left a hole in the county’s staff with his recent resignation, but instead of filling the position, the county commissioners decided to use the employees they have to complete the tasks Bailey had been responsible for.

Bailey worked his final day Friday after reaching the decision to move from the county and begin his own sub-contracting business. His job included working with contractors, overseeing inspections for those buying and selling homes and approving permits for projects occurring in flood plains, among other responsibilities.

During their Tuesday morning meeting, the Bourbon County Commission and attorney Justin Meeks discussed the decision to use four employees from the GIS/IT and Assessor’s departments to cover those tasks. By doing so, the county would save the money that would be needed to cover an employees salary and would instead cover the hours the individuals would work.

Meeks said those employees should be able to maintain the quality of the work the county usually provides, but may not always be able to in the same timely manner as when they had a full-time employee devoted to the position. If the change does not seem to work, or if area development suddenly increases, the commission would revisit the decision.

Continuing in the budget season, the commissioners said they have to work carefully to make sure the needed finances are available as they collect budget requests from various departments. Already, they are trying to discern how to increase the wages for members of the sheriff’s department, to make the positions more competitive, within the current budget. Five positions have also been cut from the roads and bridges department in order to consolidate positions and save funding.

Meeks said the main way a county is able to save money is by cutting people or services, while commissioner Jeff Fischer added it is up to the leadership to prioritize their services and decide where to invest their money.