Category Archives: Bourbon County

Candlelight Tour of Fort Scott

Fort Scott, KS — On December 5th and 6th, Fort Scott National Historic site hosted their 33rd Annual Candlelight Tour. Actors and tour guides take you back through a re-creation of what was going on many, many years ago. Following the tour, there were light refreshments and social with actors who continued to carry the theme of the evening in costume, music and games.

Candlelight 2014-10

Each year, the Fort selects a different time period in which to re-enact. This year’s focus was 1864 and Fort Scott’s weary eye upon General Price’s advancement in Missouri and procurement of the Fort’s vast supplies.

Candlelight 2014-11

At the Fort, over 700 candles were lit and over 100 actors including community members and students from Fort Scott High School. Fort Scott is a National Historic site with over 20 historic structures, a parade ground and five acres of restored tallgrass prairie. The Fort is open for self-guided tours and is a wealth of historical information. Many thanks to volunteers who have put in countless hours to help preserve the rich history in our community.

For more information:
Fort Scott NHS
Old Fort Blvd.
Fort Scott, KS 66701
Visitor Information

Bourbon County Jail Opens for Tours

Fort Scott, KS – Since the elections for Bourbon County where Bill Martin has retained his position of Sheriff, addressing the county jail is high on his list of priorities. Tuesday, November 18th the Sheriff office was giving tours of the jail from 2p-8p showing the condition of the jail.

Originally, the jail built in 1977, was made to accommodate 27 inmates. However, the average census is around 40 inmates, almost twice the original capacity. The aging facility has many issues that are not a quick fix, but would require extensive repair to satisfactorily fix the issue. A few issues are original plumbing, fixtures, wiring, cameras, electric gates, security and communication systems.

Obviously, there is much to discuss in the conversation about the best way to go about providing an adequate facility for our county jail. Undoubtedly, the conversation comes about that inmates do not need a nice place. The repairs needed at the county jail are beyond the comforts of the inmates, but are affecting the safety of the corrections officers and the energy expenditure of the aging building.

If you missed the tour, the Sheriff’s office will be offering tours again in the Spring. In the meantime, click along on the pictures below for a narration of the condition of the jail.

For further questions, contact the Sheriff’s office:
204 S National Ave
Fort Scott, KS

Bourbon County & State Election Results

Residents gather at Bourbon County courthouse to watch election results

The end of elections in Bourbon County is coming quickly to an end. There are some very interesting races happening in the county and our state. Throughout the evening will be at the courthouse posting results as they come in.

Updated: 12:27am


US Senate
Pat Roberts, R 53%
Greg Orman, I 43%
Randall Batson, L 4%

US HOUSE, District 2
Lynn Jenkins, R 57%
Margie Wakefield, D 39%
Christopher Clemmons, L 4%

Paul Davis, D 46%
Sam Brownback, R 50%
Keen Umbehr, L 4%

Secretary of State
Jean Schodorf, D 41%
Kris Kobach, R 59%

Attorney General
Derek Schmidt, R 67%
A.J. Kotich, D 33%

State Treasurer
Ron Estes, R 68%
Carmen Alldritt, D 33%

Commissioner of Insurance
Ken Selzer, R 61%
Dennis Anderson, D 39%

State House, 4th District
Lucas Cosens, D 32%
Marty Read, R 68%

Allow Charitable Gaming
Yes 75%
No 25%

Ballots counted: 5,012, all precincts reporting

Mike Feagins, D  — 28%
Bill Martin, R –77%

County Commissioner, 1st District
Lynne Oharah, R — 73%
Clinton Walker, D — 26%

USD 234 – School Bond
Yes – 56%
No – 43%




Voting at Grace Baptist Tabernacle

Shead Farm Host Elementary Day at the Farm

Garland, KS — On October 15th, one hundred thirty Fort Scott Elementary kindergarten students traveled to the Shead Stead Farm in rural Garland to enjoy the beautiful fall weather and experience many farm related activities.-

All photos credit: Mark Shead
The eight classes were accompanied by their teachers and a number of parents. Four of the classes participated in the morning activities and the other four in the afternoon, crossing over with both classes being at the farm for lunch around the picnic tables.
The various activity stations were attended as each teacher rotated her students around the farm.  This gave the children opportunity to explore different aspects of farm life and fun that can be created with a little imagination.
The Indian camp with a teepee was hosted by Benjamin Shead who was dressed in full Indian attire.  Children sat on mats and wore headbands and feathers as they learned several Indian songs and rhyme.
Teachers then moved on to the animal area where each child was able to pet and feed the donkey, the pot-belly pig, the goats and pet the horse.  Chickens, guineas, ducks, cats, dogs and friendly turkeys could be observed wandering around.
A favorite to all of the students was the barn swing and hay ride.  Teachers and parents helped the students take turns swinging. Raymond Kalm, a nearby farmer, drove the hay wagon to the delight of the students.
The chicken yard story time was hosted by Katy Shead who read the story of Henny Penny and showed the students live baby chickens and guineas.  Each student was able to gather eggs from the metal nest boxes.
The apple harvest station was run by a parent and Haley Shead.  Students learned about the comparison of a bushel basket, a half bushel and a peck.  They also learned how to pick apples from the tops of the trees with an apple picker. They were able to watch how one can peel apples quickly with an electric drill, core and slice them and then sample the tasty crisp apples.
Another activity station included finding feathers in hay and then matching them with the picture of farm poultry.
Butter making was another area of interest as the students learned about how to make butter the old fashioned way and the new quicker way of doing it in the blender.  Treats of crackers with butter were shared with the students.  Teacher, Mrs. Melissa Tatro and Haley Shead helped with this activity.
During the afternoon, Fort Scott Community Rodeo Cowboys came to help the students learn to rope. Also on display were various collections of insects and bird habitats. Class pictures were taken on the old tractor.

Story submitted by farm owners, Larry and Vickie Shead.

Cato Days Celebrates the Past

Cato, KS – This past weekend, Cato held their annual Cato Days celebration. The event is hosted by the Cato Historical Preservation Association. The Association was established in 2005 to ensure the preservation of the Cato School, a one-room schoolhouse in Cato, Kansas.


This year’s celebration marks the 100th anniversary of the Cato Christian Church. Cato has a rich history which you can read in depth on their webpage. Cato was the first town in Bourbon County (then it was Crawford), established by John Rogers in 1854.

The Church has been restored and is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the central figure in the Cato Days celebration. Many local volunteers and families work hard to maintain this area and preserve the history of this church and the city. Former ministers at Cato Christian were in attendance: Leon Weece, Roger Tribble, Tim Fritch and the Vernon brothers.

On Friday, area school kids were able to come out and participate in activities. Saturday, also has a fun schedule of events starting with music and presentations. Also, throughout the day historical booths and presentations were happening on the grounds. Music and a wiener roast around the campfire served up lunch and wagon rides to historical sites rounded out the day.

You can also check out more information on their facebook page.

Fort Scott Chamber Host Candidate Forum

Fort Scott, KS — Monday night at Fort Scott High School, starting promptly at 6pm, the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce hosted a candidate forum. About 100 local citizens heard from many candidates who are on the ballot for the November 4th elections.


The evening kicked off with a welcome from Chamber Executive Director, Lindsay Madison and the forum was moderated by Larry Gazaway. Candidates were allowed two minutes to make opening and closing remarks and asked three questions chosen from public submissions.

The following are snippets from candidates remarks and responses throughout the evening.

U.S. House of Representatives

wakefield jenkinsMargie Wakefield (D) Dysfunction in congress – Over 29 year’s experience as a lawyer, looking for solutions to complicated problems. Can take this experience to the US House is real ways to make real impact.

Lynn Jenkins (R) – Background in accounting and after serving Kansas, ran for US House of Representatives. We are making headway and looking forward to building on accomplishments so far.

  1. Should we continue investigating the IRS for targeting of political organizations?

LJ – Absolutely, this is one of the most disturbing mismanagement of the IRS. We will continue oversight. People shouldn’t be targeted for their political beliefs. We have oversight and will continue to move forward in accountability and seeking fair

MW – Shutting down the gov’t is not going to help us have an efficient gov’t. We need to work together to come up with a solution.

  1. Border issue – What is your definition of immigration reform?

Mw – I don’t not support full amnesty. We are not going to depart millions of people. We need to have a real conversation about immigration reform and we need to make them tax payers, quickly. Unfortunately, all the finger pointed is not helping.

LJ – This is a real concern with border security. Those in the House passed border security measure and is stuck in the Senate right now.

Pastor are being sued for not performing same-sex marriagin what protecgtion do they have

LJ- Tthe supreme court, has pretty much put this issue to bed. I anticipate this being a state issue and will land in the judicial branch.

MW – Scotus has sealed the deal, but most likely will fall to the states to decide.

Kansas Attorney General

AJ Kotich (D)


Remarks: Joined Marine Corp in 1969, became an officer and become part of JAG. Biggest issue right now is reducing cost; 8.3 million spent on private outside lawyers.

  1. Do you support ID voter laws?

We are here to support the constitution and enforce the laws on the books and that’s what I would do, regardless of my personal opinions.

  1. Clerks are issuing same sex marriage certificates, how would your office be involved in that?

We are here to support the constitution and that what I would do, regardless of my personal opinion.

  1. How would your administration be different from the current administration?

It would be run more efficiently, would cut spending and utilize the in house resources unless there was a conflict of interest with a case.

Kansas State Treasurer

Derek Kreifels, Assistant State Treasurer bring remarks on behalf of Ron Estes (R), State Treasurer


Manage 24 billion dollars a year. Over the last four years, through our unclaimed property division, has returned more than 60 million dollars to Kansas. This can be seen through Ron Estes was the first elected treasure from Wichita, KS.

Kansas Commissioner of Insurance

kansasinsuranceHow does party affiliation affect the job?

DA – It shouldn’t affect the job at all. We are elected to serve the gen. pub. and really need to serve the questions and protect the interest of all people. It’s regulated because there are large sums of money at stake.

KS – Should not be a political office at all. I’m a business man and will work to bring private business practice to this department.

  1. What is the most pressing issue

KS – there have been some long term people in this position. We have had officials for 24 hours – the pressing issues is the affordability and availability in coverage of home owners, affordable care act, etc. I’m not in favor of Obamacare, there are better ways to deal with the mandates.

DA –The most pressing issue is making sure the people have an advocate that best represent the people. Second, is that we need an office that will make sure to hold insurance companies accountable. 3rd thing – is to make sure we have a competent, efficient department.

Kansas House of Representatives District 4

Kansas House

1. Do you support raising taxes this next fiscal year and why?

MR – I don’t believe growing the government is good, but rather growing economy. Best thing the government can do is leave the creative business person alone.

LC –  I paid no income tax this past year due to state policies to increase small business revenue, in theory to help business’ grow. However, we aren’t seeing revenue for the state increase and we need a new tax structure.

2. Should we require mandatory drug testing on all pregnant women?

MR – Doesn’t seem like the government needs to be involved in this.

LC – I believe this is too invasive procedure.

Bourbon County Commissioner – District #1

Clinton Walker (D) – Dist #1

8 good roads, life cycle replacement program, manage personnel with respect. Heavy on maintenance

Lynn Oharah (R) – Dist #1commisdistric1

  1. Gravel roads / dust control?

LO – Gravel roads are in poor shape, we need to have an aggressive program to address these road to protect the public and school vehicles.

CW – First thing is to apply more gravel on the roads, ditches cleaned out and mowed, keep all that road signs clear of obstructions.

  1. Economic development, what are your ideas

CW – Three things need continue improvement: education, good roads, workforce. If you have these areas continually improving, you will have businesses coming into our county

LO – Bourbon County has opportunities, but we need to have people dedicated to making proposals to draw business’ to BC. We have a great team, but they need more help to extend their outreach further.

  1. Bourbon County Jail is in disrepair – would you support, how big and how pay for it?

LO – Neither bond issue or tax increase is going to work. We are taxed to the max and the jail is in disrepair, something needs to be done. We don’t need to focus on the creature comforts, but we do need to make sure it’s safe. Put it on the ballot and let the people decide.

CW – 75 bed facility (build) or remodeled. Before we do anything, we need to have different options and present to the public. Once we have a unified approach and strategy then we need to put it on the ballot.

Bourbon County Sheriff


  1. As an admin, how would your admin be different?

MF – I would focus on building a team. Currently, there is not much teamwork and communication

BM – We are working to exchange information protocol on shift changes. We have established a new records information system.

  1. Illegal drugs, what are the plans to combat this?

BM – We need more personnel, so we can assign manpower to the hotspots and following up investigations. We are working with area agencies, but we still need additional manpower to combat these issues

MF – Worked many cases alone. I don’t receive much information on current cases or calls. We need to focus on what we have and make it work.

Where does $$ come from to provide more?

MF – Tax payers, yes, I would support a small tax increase.

MB – The best route is to work  a plan with the commissioners to develop a strategies to release the funds. There are grants out there to increase personnel and other options. It’s critical to develop relationship with commissioners to ensure our citizens are getting proper security and safety.

Early voting has started at the courthouse already. For more information on the November 4th election, including a sample ballot, you can click here.

See you at the polls!




Bronson Locker, A Look Inside

Bronson, KS – Have you ever had the conversation with your kids about where your beef comes from? It’s can be quite an interesting conversation explaining where are food comes from and how it’s processed. There are some really great documentaries on food processing and production, but if you are looking for a local beef, pork, venison processing business, you don’t even have to leave the county.


Bronson Locker has been in operation for a long, long time. The current owners, Chubb and Helen Bolling, have been slicing and dicing since 1966. When they bought the locker they had about 700 square feet to work with. Now, they have expanded into 3 storefronts and have custom made their entire processing facility.

From start to finish, the Bolling family has processing down. Click on the gallery to see a pictorial tour of the facility.

The Bolling family was great to visit with while they gave the tour. The whole facility was very clean and remarkably free from smells you might associate with a processing business.

If you are  looking for a local place to handle your processing needs, the Bronson Locker can take care of your needs. Being in the middle of deer season, there are lots of ways you can process that venison and Bronson Locker has mastered probably all of them from jerky to summer sausage, they can do it.

Make sure to call ahead if you are planning on dropping off an animal for processing and for any other questions you might have. For contact info and questions:

Bronson Locker

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Kansas Rocks Hosts Four-Wheeling Event

Mapleton, KS – If you are an outdoors enthusiast and like to tackle off – road driving, you won’t want to miss out on gathering this weekend. Kansas Rocks Recreation Park (KRPP) is hosting their Creep and Crawl event, October 18th all day (and night).

Courtesy Kansas Rocks Park

Registration is $40 at the door and includes a whole slew of activities. If there are meal tickets left, you can get those for $7, first come first served. Even if you don’t have an off-road vehicle, there will be plenty activity for you and the kids. First and foremost, there will be ‘open wheeling’ all day long until 11:30pm. They have both trails for the experienced and the novice drivers. Here is the schedule of events:

12:30 –1:30 Kids games and prizes
Petting zoo from Two Girls and a Zoo, will be set up during the day
4:00pm – Kid, Adult, Family, Rig Costume showcase; all kids will receive a trunk or treat bag and prizes for each category.
4:30-5pm – Trunk or Treat (bring goodies to share)
5pm – Catered dinner by Sugarfoot and Peaches (from Ft. Scott)
6:30-7:30p Little Kid friendly (non-scary) trail drive
7:30-10:30p Scary trail ride in the South 40 area

Kansas Rocks Park has been ongoing for about 11 years with continual improvements being made to attract more recreational enthusiast to come out. Make sure and visit their website for more information and calendar of events they have scheduled, including Veteran’s Appreciation Day and Wheeling 4 Toys.

The park is open nearly every weekend, but you’ll want to check their website, facebook or call the office before you plan your trip. The park is open to 4-wheel-drive vehicles, mountain bikes, hikers and UTV’s. Unfortunately, ATV’s, motorcycles and quads will have to find another place to ride.

For more information about the park:

Phone: 620.829.5389
2051 130th Rd, Mapleton, KS United States

If you events you think we might be interested in, please email:

Young Professional League of Bourbon County host Sheriff Candidates

Fort Scott, KS

sheriffIt goes without saying, but one of the greatest impacts on a community is who the people vote into office. This November, there will be important decisions to be made. One of which, will be the county Sheriff.

At the last Young Professional League of Bourbon County, YPL hosted those who will be on the ballot for County Sheriff. Mike Feagin and the current Sheriff, Bill Martin shared their thoughts and responded to a few questions. (in case you don’t make it to the end of the article, there will be a candidate forum Oct 20th, hosted by the Chamber at Fort Scott High School).

Here are the general remarks:

Mike Feagin:

Ramp up efforts to address the drug problem
Build unit cooperation / collaboration
On site working with the drug enforcement
Increase grant research for equipment / maintenance

Bill Martin

Shortfalls due to budgetary restrictions. Need new radios, budget has been approved.  Working closely with Fire Chief to ensure radio systems will be compatible.
Won 40K Grant for video systems in all patrol cars
Need more personnel – final decision is left with the commissioners
Drug cases – more difficult than property theft. Have to build a case, determine probable cause, etc
Have a strong working relationship with FSPD.
Open door policy / transparency

Another major issue – jail. Invitation for all to come and visit and see what is going on. Two bonds are going on – taking a step back until school bond is passed.

If bond issue to build new jail (increase tax) fails, what is the plan?

BM – I don’t want a new tax, but to pull from sales tax. Also, housing other inmates to bring add’l revenue to pay building. Will not go after prop. tax 40-55 inmates per day. Need to have room for 15 more. Current jail is designed for 26 inmates. Wyandotte Co and surrounding Co are very interesting.

Moderator stop discussion here due to limited time to allow for additional questions. Mike did not get to answer.

If population of inmates is growing, but the population is not, why?

BM – job force is low, laws are changing that are more aggressive

MF – There are alternatives to dwindling job force, need to focus on prevention as well as prosecution ie cadet program

What is the biggest drug contributor?

BM – meth; K2 is growing because not illegal in surrounding states

MF – agreed

If you know you there is a drug problem, what can a citizen do?

BM – keep reporting it, manpower is down, we can partner with KBI, but need to have the case built before much can be done.

MF – agreed, keep watching and be vigilant.

Which is more important, prevention or enforcement:

BM – both are important, sometimes getting arrested is the only way to get them into treatment programs

MF – (general discussion started and MF did not get a chance to respond.

Important dates for the upcoming elections:

  • Oct. 14 – Last day to register to vote in general election
  • Oct. 15 – Advance voting begins
  • OCT 20: Chamber Hosts Candidate Forum at the Fort Scott High School
  • Oct. 31 – Deadline for advance ballot application
  • Nov. 3 – Noon deadline to cast advance voting ballot in person at county election office
  • Nov. 4 – Advance ballots must be received in county election office by the close of the polls, polls are open from 6am to 7pm


Project 17 and Kansas Leadership Center Offer FREE Workshops

Fort Scott, KS – Have you been looking for a way to make a real impact on your community on multiple levels? If so, you might want to do learn more about Project 17. Project 17 was born out of a large community meeting to address socio-economic, health care and industry in 17 counties in South East Kansas.

The mission statement is to improve the economic opportunities and qualities of life of those who live, work, and play in the 17 counties of South East Kansas. One of the key indicators of low performance is the lack of high impact civic leadership. Towards this goal of increasing networking and leadership, Project 17 has joined with Kansas Leadership Center and is putting together one day (FREE) leadership conferences in area counties to address these issues.

During the conferences, there will be actions points where leaders can get involved as well as discussion topics such as: Diagnosis Situation, Intervene Skillfully, Energize Others and Manage Self. These conferences are focused on developing leadership skill in the civic leaders in the area. Registration deadline is October 15, click here to register. Here are the dates of conferences in the area:

October 28:
Fort Scott Community College, Ellis Family Fine Arts Center (2108 S. Horton, Fort Scott, KS 66701)

October 29:
Neosho County Community College, Ottawa Campus(900 East Logan St., Ottawa, KS 66067)

October 30:
Independence Community College West, Woods Family Community Center (2615 West Main St., Independence, KS 67301)

Another conference in conjunction with Project 17 is the “UnConference” that will be hosted at Pittsburg State University, Thursday, October 16th, 9-4pm. “Topics will include things like how to support existing business and entrepreneurship, economic development, health education and how to improve the regions workforce,” Project 17’s Executive Director, Heather Morgan commented. Ken Brock and Joe Bisogno will be speaking and will further the discussion of how we can make Project 17 counties more economically productive. Click here for more information and to register (deadline today).

For more information about Project 17
Heather Morgan
Project 17
Executive Director

Brownback, King make major SEK announcement

Fort Scott, KS – A major announcement for SEK came this morning (October 9th), an announcement that has been debated for a decade. Governor Brownback and Secretary of Transportation, Mike King, was in town to announce the final stretch of highway 69, from Arma to Pittsburg, will be widened to a four lane highway.

It will be a $23.5 million project that has been a long time coming. Brownback cites the reason for being able to do this now is other projects in the state coming in under cost. Already announced and funded is the stretch from Fort Scott to Arma, although construction has not started. The total project will cost about $70 million and will cover about 18 miles. Construction is expected to begin in 2017 and will be completed 2019.

Following the announcement Governor Brownback continued to visit local places in SEK, part of campaigning for the upcoming elections. He didn’t make any remarks but used the time to connect with local people at Papa Don’s pizza in downtown Fort Scott.


Timber Hills Lake Ranch host “Bird Dog Classic”

Mapleton, KS — Timber Hills Lake Ranch, just outside of Mapleton, Ks is hosting a national “Bird Dog Classic” for habitat this weekend. Now, if you’re not familiar with the Bird Dog Classic, it’s a hunting competition for owners and the ‘bird dog.’ There are numerous competitions that will test the abilities of your bird dog. The cool thing about this weekend’s competition is that all the proceeds will go to “Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever.” The mission is dedicated to the conservation of pheasants, quail and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs. You can click here for more information the Bird Dog Classic or contact: Ed Holland @ 816.810.9535, OR Joe Deschaine @ 479-586-1789,


If you’re not a hunter, there is still plenty to do. There will be shooting skills, youth “outdoor experience,” raffles and live auction. You may not have made it out to Timber Hills Lake, it’s a beautiful 2,000 acre location which hosts many different events from corporate meetings to wedding. It’s a beautiful place to spend the weekend or to host your own event here.

Courtesy Timber Hills Lake Ranch
Courtesy Timber Hills Lake Ranch

Click here for more information about Timber Hills Lake Ranch. Contact:

Timber Hills Lake Ranch
1369 Valley Road,
Mapleton, KS. 66754
Telephone: (620) – 743 – 4114