Category Archives: Business

Jackie Sellers: Senior Services and Taxi, Too

Jackie Sellers sits in her office at the Bourbon County Senior Citizens Center, 26 N. Main.

Jackie Sellers is the site manager for the Bourbon County Senior Citizens Center, 26 N. Main. The center is the hub of many services that are provided to seniors in the community.

 

Her jobs entail food distribution for Meals On Wheels, a Kansas Food Bank Senior Food Program, food commodities distribution and a monthly potluck for people with disabilities in the community.

 

Another venture, housed at the site, is providing public transportation service to the community.

 

Taxi

 

Sellers coordinates rides for Old Fort Transportation, a local taxi service.

 

The hours for Old Fort Transportation are 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. To secure a ride call 223-0750.

 

She said there are five employees that drive the vans that are part of the transportation fleet.

 

“We provide 900-1,000 rides a month,” she said. Rides to go to a job, or the doctor or shopping. “It’s been a busy year, we are looking good.”

 

“We will provide out of town runs,” Sellers said. “We do have drivers for that, with 24 hours notice.”

 

Old Fort Transportation has even occasionally provided rides home from the emergency room when people are dismissed after hours.

 

Sellers was co-host of the Jan. 16 Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Coffee with Fort Scott Compassion Ministries, who have an office in the center.

 

At the coffee, Fort Scott City Manager Dave Martin told Sellers that he appreciates her for keeping the taxi service going.

 

Food

 

The Southeast Kansas Area Agency on Aging Senior Nutrition Program, also known as Meals on Wheels, is delivered through the Bourbon County Senior Citizens, with Sellers coordinating.

 

Sellers provides drivers for 54 senior citizens who receive home delivery of a hot meal.

 

Four people receive frozen meals through the program, she said.

 

“If you are on the route of the driver coming from Pittsburg, you get hot meals,” Sellers said. “If you are not on the route, you get frozen meals.”

 

“Volunteers dish up the food and deliver the meals,” she said.

 

Once a month, Sellers also coordinates food commodities distribution.

 

“It is income-based,” she said. “They come in once a month on the fourth Thursday to 26 N. Main. They can come on that day and we can sign them up.”

 

“We serve about 120 households a month,” Sellers said.

 

In addition, about 78 people receive a box of food from the Kansas Food Bank’s Senior Food Program, she said. This distribution is the fourth Friday of each month.

 

“Come in and pick up an application, mail it to Wichita,” she said. “If the application is in at the beginning of the month, they can get the box that month.”

 

Included in the box: meat, vegetables, fruit, shelf-milk, cereal, juice, a loaf of cheese.

 

“This is income-based and age-based,” Sellers said. “You have to be 60 years plus.”

 

There is also a potluck on the second Friday in partnership with Resource Center for Independent Living, for those with disabilities.

“If you know someone who could use help, they can help,” she said.

 

Jackie Sellers, site manager at Bourbon County Senior Citizens center, places a quart of milk in a cooler to deliver with Meals on Wheels lunches.

Downtown Meet and Greet Jan. 28

Quarterly Downtown Meet & Greet Scheduled for January 28

The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce the Quarterly Downtown Meet & Greet will be held Tuesday, January 28th from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at Papa Don’s Pizza, 10 N. Main Street.

These informal, quarterly meetings are hosted by the Chamber for downtown business owners, representatives and community members to network and share ideas on events, promotions and anything related to downtown. Coffee, juice and light refreshments will be served.

Our Quarterly Downtown Meetings will be held on that first Tuesday of the quarter.

Please join us Tuesday, January 28th, 2020 for the Quarterly Downtown Meet & Greet. Contact the Chamber at 620-223-3566 with any questions.

The Offices: Starting a Small Business Turn-Key

The Offices, a set of offices being developed by Legweak LLC.
Jeff and Jamie Armstrong have put resources of time and money into The Offices, located at 1711-1715 S. National Avenue. (Just north of Subway Restaurant.)
Jeff and Jamie Armstrong stand in front of the property they developed into business suites. Submitted photo.

Recently, they signed on their first renter in the development.

 

“We cater to small businesses that need a turn-key solution without the overhead of their own storefront,” Jamie Armstrong said.
“We created this space to help attract and grow small businesses in a community we dearly love,” she said.  “It is difficult to find professional space that’s affordable with great visibility when you are getting started or growing into a new market.”
The Armstrong’s have worked in the last few months to build the offices, which were created to fit the need of the renter.
“We hope that by adapting size and scale, we have brought to a rural market like Fort Scott, a small business concept that has been wildly popular in urban markets,” Armstrong said.

The first business moving into The Offices building is Mag-Lab of Pittsburg. This business offers medical lab services to the community.

 

Brian Holt, Mag-Lab medical technologist and Sharon Newell, phlebotomist, stand in the lobby of The Offices, where the new Mag-Lab is located. There are six offices available in this section of the buildings. A common lobby, restroom, and kitchen area are shared among the renters.

 

“They open up February 3rd,” Armstrong said.  ” We have five remaining units available for lease.”

 

” Our amenities include private, pre-wired 10’x12’ office with on-site storage, virtual receptionist, common area cleaning service, and all utilities included for one flat monthly cost. We offer flexible lease terms that start at $500/mo. We would be the perfect option for a satellite law practice, CPA, medical practitioner, a work-from-home business and many, many others.”

 

The common kitchenette area of The Offices, 1711 S. National.

 

The restroom has wheelchair accessibility at The Offices.

 

The name of the development business that the Armstrong’s started is Legweak,LLC. For more information: 620-224-3036.

See their Facebook page at Legweak Properties

Chamber Coffee at Walmart Vision Center Jan. 23

The Chamber Coffee will be hosted by Walmart Supercenter
Please meet in the Vision Center
2500 S. Main St.
Thursday, January 23, 2020
8am
Click here for Walmart’s Facebook page.
Click here for their website.
Chamber Members & Guests are
welcome to attend and pay $1 to make
any announcement about their business
or organization including events, new products, promotions, or anything else to share!
Upcoming Chamber Coffee Schedule:
*My1Stop hosting at Empress Center 1/30
* OPEN 2/6! – Please call the Chamber to Schedule
* Visage Skin Care Spa & Ribbon cutting 2/13
* Ascension Via Christi 2/20
* OPEN 2/27! – Please call the Chamber to Schedule

Evergy Evaluates Options

Evergy Affirms Board and Management’s Focus on Delivering
Long-Term Value Creation and Serving Stakeholders’ Best Interests 

Updates Stakeholders Regarding Dialogue with Elliott Management

 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – January 21, 2020 – Evergy, Inc. (NYSE: EVRG), a vertically integrated, regulated, investor-owned electric utility created by the merger of Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy in June of 2018, today issued the following statement regarding the dialogue the Company has had with Elliott Management Corporation (Elliott):

 

In October 2019, we were approached by Elliott, which proposed two alternative paths for the Company to consider:

 

  1. Evergy should immediately initiate a process to explore the sale of the Company or some other business combination;

 

  1. Evergy should significantly increase its capex over the Company’s current plan, cut investments in operations and maintenance (O&M) to help offset this increase, and halt its existing share repurchase program.

 

Since October, we have engaged in good faith with Elliott to fully understand and evaluate their proposals.  As a part of this process, we have engaged Morgan Stanley as financial advisor and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP as legal counsel to assist management and the Board with an evaluation of Elliott’s proposals and our strategic plan.

We are open to evaluating opportunities that may create greater value and recognize that Elliott has different views regarding our strategic plan. At the same time, there are various considerations that we believe are important when evaluating the conclusions that Elliott has asserted in its letter.

 

As expressed to Elliott, we are confident in our ability to deliver long-term growth and shareholder value creation through the execution of our strategic plan. This plan includes maximizing operational savings from our 2018 merger, the share repurchase program we committed to when this merger was completed, paying a competitive dividend and making capital investment that will drive value.

 

  • We are executing on our operating plan and are achieving substantial cost savings. We are on track to exceed the $550 million of cumulative net cost savings targeted through 2023 in connection with the merger.  These savings include $110 million of savings in 2019 alone – $80 million above our 2018 target.  Notably, these savings are being achieved while protecting jobs; there have been no involuntary layoffs at the Company.
  • Merger savings, share repurchases, dividends and infrastructure investments are contributing to sustainable earnings growth and competitive shareholder returns.  At this time, given the regulatory considerations in Missouri and Kansas, we believe the greatest return opportunities for Evergy’s capital beyond our current investment plan are share repurchases and growing the Company’s dividend. Together with the Company’s merger savings and incremental infrastructure investments utilizing plant in-service accounting in Missouri, we expect to deliver compounded annual earnings growth of 5% to 7% through 2023.
  • Evergy’s third quarter results demonstrate the strength of the Company and the value opportunity we offer to Evergy shareholders. We delivered another solid quarter, despite regulatory headwinds. Our confidence in the business and our financial strength is reflected in the confirmation of our 2019 adjusted EPS guidance of $2.80 to $3.00 and the 6.3% increase to our dividend, also consistent with our long-term guidance.

 

We remain open to continuing our dialogue with Elliott. As we consider any opportunity, we are resolute in our commitment to serving the best interests of all Evergy stakeholders, including our shareholders, employees, customers and the communities we serve.

 

The support of our regulators is very important, and we will maintain an open, collaborative dialogue with them as we – and they – consider Elliott’s views.

 

Morgan Stanley is acting as financial advisor and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is acting as legal advisor to the Company.

 

About Evergy, Inc.

Evergy, Inc. (NYSE: EVRG) provides clean, safe and reliable energy to 1.6 million customers in Kansas and Missouri. The 2018 combination of Kansas City Power and Light Company and Westar Energy to form Evergy created a leading energy company that provides value to shareholders and a stronger company for customers.

 

Evergy’s mission is to empower a better future. Today, half the power supplied to homes and businesses by Evergy comes from emission-free sources, creating more reliable energy with less impact to the environment. We will continue to innovate and adopt new technologies that give our customers better ways to manage their energy use.

 

For more information about Evergy, Inc., visit us at www.evergy.com.

New export assistance grant available to companies across Kansas

 

 

Topeka, Kan. – Companies based in the state of Kansas have a new tool to help them succeed in selling their goods or services to customers around the world. The Kansas Market Access Program (K-MAP) lowers the end-user cost of international market research, export documentation and foreign business partner meetings, so Kansas companies can reach more customers and close more deals.

 

Emerging out of the public-private partnership between the Kansas Department of Commerce and the Wichita-based Kansas Global Trade Services, K-MAP is made available as a one-time opportunity. Interested companies are encouraged to apply before June 30, 2020, in order to ensure access to grant funding.

 

“The needs of Kansas exporters vary greatly,” Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “While Commerce already has a successful program designed to help companies participate in international trade shows (KITSAP), this new program provides assistance for a range of other activities vital to their success.”

 

Karyn Page, President & CEO of Kansas Global, adds, “We learned what works best when we implemented the state’s first export plan in Wichita. That’s why we asked the Kansas Legislature for this grant to be added to our contact. We found that having a flexible grant for companies to use is the sweetener they need to fast-track international sales.”

 

For more information about the Kansas Market Access Program and to apply online, visit kansascommerce.gov/k-map-application or kansasglobal.org.

Fort Scott Chamber: Encouraging Businesses

Lindsay Madison is the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Executive Director.

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.

Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, 321 E. Wall

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.

To learn more: /https://www.workreadycommunities.org/

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:

http://fortscott.com/board-of-directors

To see the Chamber sponsored events, view the flyer below:

https://chambermaster.blob.core.windows.net/userfiles/UserFiles/chambers/2874/CMS/2019-Year-in-Review—Chamber.pdf

 

To join the Chamber, click here:

http://fortscott.com/join-the-chamber

 

 

 

 

 

CHC/SEK: Not Possible To Pursue Mercy Building Repurpose

The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK) Board of Directors took no action today toward establishing a “medical mall” within the former Fort Scott Mercy Hospital. Prior to finalizing plans for the construction of a new primary care clinic, CHC/SEK had spent the past month assessing the feasibility of remaining in the existing building.

 

“It was our goal,” said CHC/SEK CEO Krista Postai, “to see if we could recruit enough occupants to cover the cost of repurposing the former hospital built in 2002 at the cost of $30 million.”

 

“After analyzing costs over the last year and projecting expenses if the building’s space was fully utilized, we estimated that we would need about $800,000 to $1 million annually to cover utilities and maintenance plus the staff to keep the building maintained and fully operational,” said Postai, adding the bulk of that expense would have to be covered by CHC/SEK and Ascension/Via Christi who together would occupy a large percentage of the overall building.

 

CHC/SEK staff met with multiple people and organizations to discuss their interest including officials from Fort Scott Community College who identified opportunities for space for their nursing department, as well as additional dormitory space. We were especially appreciative of the Bourbon County Commission who had pledged “in-kind” support to take care of mowing, snow removal, etc., as well as the Mercy Health System who had tentatively committed funds for needed and future repairs.

 

“Altogether, we had tentative commitments from about a half dozen interested in being a part of the project which covered about 100,000 sq. ft. of the 125,000 sq. ft. of available space,” said Postai, who explained the entire building is 177,000 sq. ft. but about 50,000 sq. ft. is dedicated to mechanical space that supports the overall building operations.

 

“That was assuming Ascension/Via Christi remained in the existing ER and Diagnostic Imaging area, and we continued to occupy the clinic space plus the pharmacy,” she said.

 

“Unfortunately, we were notified Wednesday that after analyzing their options, Ascension/Via Christi had determined to remain in the existing building on a permanent basis was cost-prohibitive, and it was more fiscally prudent to build a new ER,” said Postai.

 

“We were told the existing ER space would need about $3 million in renovations and that, plus a lease payment adequate to cover the cost of their share of the facility, would make it far more expensive than a new facility,” said Postai. The CHC/SEK Board was prepared to make a go/no go decision at their Board meeting Thursday but after learning that Ascension/Via Christi was moving forward on their own construction, the board determined it was not possible to pursue this project without them.

 

“We all have to make hard decisions about what is best for our organizations and, unfortunately, we all have limited funds and have to maximize our capital investments,” said Postai adding that both organizations remain committed to providing services in Ft. Scott.

 

Both CHC/SEK and Ascension/Via Christi had already started designing new facilities on the existing campus and will proceed on, said Postai explaining CHC/SEK was planning a 25,000 sq. ft. to 30,000 sq. ft. facility facing Horton Street at an estimated cost of about $5 million.

CHC/SEK: Not Possible to Pursue Mercy Building Repurpose

The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK) Board of Directors took no action today toward establishing a “medical mall” within the former Fort Scott Mercy Hospital. Prior to finalizing plans for the construction of a new primary care clinic, CHC/SEK had spent the past month assessing the feasibility of remaining in the existing building.

 

“It was our goal,” said CHC/SEK CEO Krista Postai, “to see if we could recruit enough occupants to cover the cost of repurposing the former hospital built in 2002 at the cost of $30 million.”

 

“After analyzing costs over the last year and projecting expenses if the building’s space was fully utilized, we estimated that we would need about $800,000 to $1 million annually to cover utilities and maintenance plus the staff to keep the building maintained and fully operational,” said Postai, adding the bulk of that expense would have to be covered by CHC/SEK and Ascension/Via Christi who together would occupy a large percentage of the overall building.

 

CHC/SEK staff met with multiple people and organizations to discuss their interest including officials from Fort Scott Community College who identified opportunities for space for their nursing department, as well as additional dormitory space. We were especially appreciative of the Bourbon County Commission who had pledged “in-kind” support to take care of mowing, snow removal, etc., as well as the Mercy Health System who had tentatively committed funds for needed and future repairs.

 

“Altogether, we had tentative commitments from about a half dozen interested in being a part of the project which covered about 100,000 sq. ft. of the 125,000 sq. ft. of available space,” said Postai, who explained the entire building is 177,000 sq. ft. but about 50,000 sq. ft. is dedicated to mechanical space that supports the overall building operations.

 

“That was assuming Ascension/Via Christi remained in the existing ER and Diagnostic Imaging area, and we continued to occupy the clinic space plus the pharmacy,” she said.

 

“Unfortunately, we were notified Wednesday that after analyzing their options, Ascension/Via Christi had determined to remain in the existing building on a permanent basis was cost-prohibitive, and it was more fiscally prudent to build a new ER,” said Postai.

 

“We were told the existing ER space would need about $3 million in renovations and that, plus a lease payment adequate to cover the cost of their share of the facility, would make it far more expensive than a new facility,” said Postai. The CHC/SEK Board was prepared to make a go/no go decision at their Board meeting Thursday but after learning that Ascension/Via Christi was moving forward on their own construction, the board determined it was not possible to pursue this project without them.

 

“We all have to make hard decisions about what is best for our organizations and, unfortunately, we all have limited funds and have to maximize our capital investments,” said Postai adding that both organizations remain committed to providing services in Ft. Scott.

 

Both CHC/SEK and Ascension/Via Christi had already started designing new facilities on the existing campus and will proceed on, said Postai explaining CHC/SEK was planning a 25,000 sq. ft. to 30,000 sq. ft. facility facing Horton Street at an estimated cost of about $5 million.

Independent Medical Laboratory Coming to Fort Scott Feb. 3

The sign in the front window of the new Mag-Lab office, tells the phone number to call for more information: 620-232-1900.

Mag-Lab, an independent medical laboratory, headquartered in Pittsburg, KS will be opening a Fort Scott satellite office on Feb. 3, 2020.

The office will be located in the building just north of Subway Restaurant at 1711 S. National, Suite C2.

Hours are 7 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday.

For more information contact: 620-232-1900.

The Offices, a set of professional office spaces being developed by Legweak LLC.

With specimens taken that morning , the results will be delivered to the doctor that afternoon.

“Complicated testing we send off to a reference lab,” Phlebotomist Sharon Newell said.

“If it’s a body fluid, we can test it,” Newell said.

“We can have anybody out in a few minutes,” she said. “There is not a lot of paperwork hassle. You have to have a doctor’s script if going through insurance.”

Gary and Jeannie Petersen are the owners of the lab.

 

Sharon Newell, the phlebotomist, stands in the doorway of the new Mag-Lab office in Fort Scott.

When one enters the lobby of the set of offices, there is a doorbell on the wall for contacting each of the personnel in the offices.

Currently, Mag-Lab is the only renter, but two more are on the horizon.

Brian Holt, medical technologist and Sharon Newell, phlebotomist stand in the lobby of The Offices, where the new Mag-Lab is located. The doorbell for notifying that clients are in the lobby is located behind Sewell.

Dr. Elias Tawil is the medical director of the lab.

Chamber Coffee at Compassion Ministries Jan. 16

Chamber Coffee
Thursday, January 16th
will be hosted by the
Fort Scott Compassionate Ministries
26 N. Main St.
8 am
Click here for the City’s Facebook page.
Click here for the City’s website.
Chamber Members & Guests are
welcome to attend and pay $1 to make any announcement about their business or organization including events, new products, promotions, or
anything else to share!
Upcoming Chamber Coffee Schedule:
* Walmart, in the Vision Center 1/23
* My1Stop hosting at Empress Center 1/30
* OPEN 2/6! – Please call the Chamber to Schedule
* Visage Skin Care Spa & Ribbon cutting 2/13
* Ascension Via Christi 2/20
* OPEN 2/27! – Please call the Chamber to Schedule