In two to three months, Dr. Tim Crawford, a local dentist, hopes to be in the renovated building he has been working on this past year.
“We have no firm timeline,” Crawford said. “The end of summer or beginning of fall. We are super excited to see this come to fruition.”
The historic three-story building at the corner of Wall and Main streets, Fort Scott, known as the Marble Building; has at points in time been a theater, bank, retail store, tanning bed business and will be the dentist’s office when completed.
“You can still see the dome for the chandelier in the attic space,” referring to its’ grand past, Crawford said.
The lobby is being restored, including the stained glass windows, the rest will be new construction.
The top floor is six apartments that have recently been renovated, Crawford said.
“The middle level needs some remodeling,” Crawford said. MCM Restoration occupies most of the second floor.
The main floor of the building he purchased, where his office will be, is also the office of Crain Insurance on the Wall Street side.
The move from 1115 S. Main to the new location for the dentist office will increase the size of the office almost four times.
“We are looking at over 5,000 square feet, and right now (at the current location) we have 1,300 to 1,400 square feet,” Crawford said.
Currently, Crawford has two receptionists, one hygienist, and two dental assistants, he said.
“We’ll probably have to add one more employee,” following the move to the new office, Crawford said.
JT Contracting, RL Construction and Peerless Products, all local businesses have been involved in the reno process, Crawford said.
Local farm produce is being purchased for menu items, some new equipment has been purchased to better serve the public and a change of location is on the horizon for Common Grounds Coffee Company, 116 S. Main.
Two ministries of the Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene are collaborating to bring area food that is produced locally to the public.
One part of the collaboration is Common Grounds, which is a ministry of the Nazarene church.
Stuffed green peppers, roasted zucchini, squash, and corn, along with tomato soup are on the menu of Common Grounds, using local produce.
These produce used for the menus are straight from a garden produced by AgPathway, which is another ministry of the local Nazarene Church. This ministry involves mentoring interested people in vegetable gardening.
In addition to AgPathway deliveries of local vegetables, Vicki Waldron, manager of Common Grounds, purchases food from the Fort Scott Farmers Market.
“This spring I started buying local produce from the local farmers market: potatoes for potato salad and onions,” Waldron said.
Motivating this change was the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team through a Pathways to a Healthy Kansas grant.
The HBCAT grant helped Common Grounds to purchase a refrigerated appliance that helps keep food cold and easily accessible.
“All we had before was a refrigerator,” Waldron said. “We kept opening it and couldn’t keep it cool enough.”
Additionally, the grant helped purchase a blender.
“A more environmentally friendly, quieter blender,” Waldron said.
Another big change for Common Grounds: a move to a different location in the near future.
“We are looking at, tentatively, to be in the new place by the first of the year,” Waldron said.
The new space will be on Wall Street and National Avenue, the former Fort Scott Tribune office.
Jennifer LaRoche is the owner of the building and is also on the Common Grounds board at the Nazarene Church.
Kansas Commerce launches KansasCentral.com, an Online Business and Economic Development Magazine
TOPEKA — The Kansas Department of Commerce announces the launch of a new online magazine loaded with news and feature articles on business and economic development topics in Kansas. KansasCentral.com is aimed to keep Kansans and anyone interested in starting, relocating or expanding a business in Kansas informed of topics and opportunities in the state.
“It has been exciting to see so many businesses decide to expand to Kansas or start new operations here in America’s heartland, creating thousands of new jobs,” said Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. “KansasCentral.com will not only keep everyone informed of breaking news of companies locating in Kansas but will share success stories of thriving businesses in our state.”
KansasCentral.com features three main content areas: News, Events and Features.
The News section will constantly be updated with breaking business and economic development news, such as business expansions throughout the state and new or updated programs to assist businesses of all sizes be successful in Kansas.
The Events section will highlight upcoming conferences, workshops, job fairs, etc. that will be beneficial to entrepreneurs, business executives, employers and job seekers across the state.
The Features section will include success stories, video interviews, and articles about programs available through the Department of Commerce and other agencies that will benefit Kansas businesses or those considering locating in the state.
Both the News and Features sections also offer the ability for readers to easily find information specific to industries they are interested in, such as Aviation, Agriculture, Bio-Science and Energy.
“There are many great stories to tell of why Kansas is the best place in the country to do business, along with a steady stream of good news to share,” said Robert North, Interim Secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce. “We hope KansasCentral will quickly become a must-visit website for anyone interested in business and economic opportunities in our state.”
The Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Downtown Meet and Greet gathered Tuesday morning at Papa Don’s Restaurant.
The purpose of the quarterly gathering is to network and share ideas on events, promotions and anything related to downtown.
Downtown businesses and other community members tell about upcoming events and changes. The next meeting will be in October.
Following are the highlights of the meeting:
FS Economic Director Rachel Pruitt said the Union Block Building renovation project is progressing, in addition, there are plans for the Stout Building coming down to become a parking lot. The Union project, when completed, will provide 40 apartments and some business spaces.
The Buffalo Grill will have a grand opening for the River Room event center located on its second floor, Saturday, Aug. 11. The event is a week before school starts. Jared Leek is the manager of the business.
Jared Leek purchased the storefronts at 14 and 16 S. Main, which will be an office for Front Door Realty, owned by Leek, and a new bookstore, Hedgehog Inc., to open in October by Dick and Jan Hedges.
The City of Fort Scott has spent reserve money on development of businesses, City Manager Dave Martin said, adding “We can no longer do that.” Martin also stated he “feels good about the budget next year.
July 12 there will be an FS Planning Commission meeting to discuss the current city codes that don’t allow living areas on the first floor of commercially zoned buildings. It is open to the public.
There will be downtown outdoor movies, facilitated by Larry Gazaway on 1) July 20-Star Wars Night- people are invited to wear costumes of favorite Star War characters; 2) and August 17-Despicable Me.
A music group, The Whiskey Raccoons, will be at the LibertyTheater, hosted by the Bourbon County Arts Council, Saturday, July 14.
Musician Ben Grace will perform at the Boiler Room Brewhaus on July 20.
Two art strolls by the Bourbon County Arts Council are offered on 1) July 27-which also includes a wine stroll and concert by Blane Howard and 2) September 14.
The Pioneer Harvest Fiesta Parade is Oct. 18; the Fiesta is Oct. 19-21 at the fairgrounds.
Fort Scott Holiday Open Houses are November 8 and December 13.
Fort Scott Veterans Weekend Celebration is November 10-11. There will be a ball at the Fort Scott National Historic Site.
The FS Halloween parade is Saturday, Oct. 27.
The FS Christmas parade is December 4.
The Homes for the Holiday Tours and Fort Scott National Historic Site’s Candlelight Tour will be Dec. 7-9.
Horse-drawn carriage rides will be offered Saturday, Dec. 15, starting at Cheney-Witt Funeral Chapel.
Becky Snelson provides nurse massage therapy from Suite 202 of the Shiney Studios, 123 National Avenue and is offering a massage special of $10 off any service in July, she said. She can be contacted at 913-424-8863.
Art In the Yard, a new artists event, is September 15 at Bobbi Kemna’s, 1366 215th Street, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Over 20 artists are scheduled to present their wares, Kemna said. She is on Facebook.
Gary Palmer can make coupons for businesses to include in trolley tickets envelopes for tourists.
The downtown directory sign, on the north end of Main Street, is $100 per year, renewable in July and is available for promoting a business.
The Bike-Share Program is providing 10 yellow bikes for residents and visitors for free. Several bikes are located at the Chamber office, 213 E. Wall; Fort Scott Community College-2108 S. Horton; Nate’s Place Restaurant-750 S. National; Peerless Products, 2403 S. Main. Participants must sign a waiver and show a drivers license. If under 18 years old, a parent must be present when the waiver is signed.
The Timken Foundation has $55,000 in grants to give away to non-profits according to Lindsay Madison, Chamber director. Grants are given in arts and culture, civic and community, education, health and hospitals, human services and recreation categories.
A new ranger has been hired and will be at the Fort Scott National Historic Site (FSNHS) on July 27. His name is Carl Brenner.
FSNHS offers Trail Blazer Camps each summer for youth 9-13 years old.
July 31 there will be a candidate forum at the Fort Scott High School auditorium. Questions should be submitted to the Chamber before the forum.
Craw-Kan Telephone Cooperative is constructing fiber optics in Fort Scott and plans to connect in the fall. Craw-Kan will be hosting the Chamber coffee on August 9 and needs to partner with a Chamber member to use their space that morning, since the business does not have an office in the city.
There were 100 riders who participated in the Marmaton Massacre Mountain Bike Race at Gunn Park over the weekend. Promotion is needed to promote the bike/hike trails as a year-round activity, Chad Cosens said.
Riverfront Park is beginning construction of an overlook of the Marmaton River and Mill Creek, to be completed this fall.
Gary Palmer offers printing services for flyers, posters, coupons, etc., with a designer on staff.
Smallville Crossfit is offering a lifting competition in the fall.
New Westar Energy Program, Wind Farm Aims to Attract Large Customers
Kansas Wind Energy Can Attract Businesses Looking to Fulfill Sustainability Commitments.
TOPEKA, Kan. – July 11, 2018 – Tuesday the Kansas Corporation Commission approved a new program that gives businesses in Westar Energy’s service area access to competitively priced renewable energy. With the approval of the program, Westar announced it reached a 20-year agreement with an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC to purchase energy from a new 300 megawatt wind farm to be developed in Nemaha County, Kan.
“The KCC unlocked a powerful economic development tool. Many large companies want affordable green energy when they choose sites for expansion or new facilities,” said Terry Bassham, president and CEO of Evergy, which operates as Westar Energy and KCP&L. “We are harnessing Kansas wind to attract and grow Kansas businesses. Wind energy boosts our local economies starting with the new wind farm jobs and the lease payments to landowners hosting the wind farm all the way to the communities that grow as businesses choose Kansas.”
The new program aims to attract business development to Kansas by offering businesses a path toward their sustainability goals with Kansas’ abundant, affordable renewable energy. Participating businesses will be able to claim a portion of the energy generated by the wind farm as their own, retain all of the renewable attributes and lock in a portion of their electricity prices for up to 20 years. The program is structured to add projects in the future to keep up with the growing appetite for renewable sources of our customers.
The Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center, which will be developed northeast of Manhattan, is expected to bring about 250 construction jobs and 15 to 20 permanent green energy jobs to Nemaha County. During the first 30 years of the project, landowners will receive more than $50 million in land-rights payments. The wind farm will be owned and operated by an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources, Inc.
With its focus on renewables, Evergy meets nearly half of the energy needs for the homes and businesses it serves with energy from zero-emission sources. Nearly one-third comes from renewable energy, making Evergy one of the largest wind energy providers in the nation. Evergy continues to modernize its generation portfolio, increasing the percentage of clean energy available to customers and introducing new programs to help customers reach their sustainability and clean energy goals.
About KCP&L and Westar Energy: Serving approximately 1.5 million customers in Kansas and Missouri, Kansas City Power & Light Company (KCP&L), KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Company and Westar Energy are the electric utilities of Evergy, Inc. (NYSE: EVRG). Together we generate nearly half the power we provide to homes
NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
and businesses with emission-free sources. We support our local communities where we live and work, and strive to meet the needs of customers through energy savings and innovative solutions.
On July 6, Joe Pauly opened his Tropical Joe’s Hawaiian Shaved Ice business in the parking lot of Family Video on South National Avenue.
“I started the company for two reasons,” Pauly told FortScott.Biz. “I loved shaved ice, it’s so good and such a fun business where you get to put smiles on faces. And reason two is I have six children, the oldest being 11. My hope is that someday this will be their summer job to teach them about work, business, communication and how to serve people.”
Pauly lives in Pittsburg and wanted to open his first store there.
“However, there is already an established shaved ice business there and my supplier said ‘Why not Fort Scott?’,” Pauly said. “He had a shaved ice business there for years, Tad’s Shaved Ice, and said it was a great town that supported the business.”
Pauly listened to the advice and went to where the demand was.
“It’s been great,” he said. “The people of Fort Scott love their shaved ice and I am glad to be able to bring it back to them.”
Many people have thanked him for putting the business in Fort Scott.
“Some said they had been driving to Nevada and Pittsburg for shaved ice,” Pauly said.
Pauly plans to remain open through September, he estimated.
The business is open seven days a week from 2 to 10 p.m. and is located at the corner of 18th Street and National Avenue in the Family Video parking lot.
$5 million still available for innovative emerging businesses through Kansas Angels program
TOPEKA – Five million dollars in tax credits are still available to investors in innovative emerging businesses in Kansas through the Kansas Angel Tax Credit (KAITC) program. The program offers Kansas income tax credits to qualified individuals who provide seed-capital financing for emerging Kansas businesses engaged in the development, implementation, and commercialization of innovative technologies, products, and services.
The KAITC Program is administered by the Kansas Department of Commerce and designed to bring together accredited angel investors with qualified Kansas companies seeking seed and early-stage investment. The Kansas Angel Investor Tax Credit act was established to facilitate the availability of equity investment in businesses in the early stages of commercial development and to assist in the creation and expansion of Kansas businesses, which are job- and wealth-creating enterprises.
How does it work?
The KAITC program grants tax credits against the Kansas income tax liability of investors investing in these startup ventures. With the primary goal of encouraging individuals to provide seed-capital financing for emerging, Kansas businesses engaged in the development, implementation, and commercialization of innovative technologies, products, and services.
Applications for certification will be accepted only for Kansas businesses in the seed and early-stage rounds of financing.
Companies must meet the following criteria to be certified as a Qualified Kansas Business:
The business has a reasonable chance of success and potential to create measurable employment within Kansas.
In the most recent tax year of the business, annual gross revenue was less than $5,000,000.
Businesses that are not Bioscience businesses must have been in operation for less than five years; bioscience businesses must have been in operation for less than 10 years.
The business has an innovative and proprietary technology, product, or service.
The existing owners of the business have made a substantial financial and time commitment to the business.
The securities to be issued and purchased are qualified securities.
The company agrees to adequate reporting of business information to the Kansas Department of Commerce.
The ability of investors in the business to receive tax credits for cash investments in qualified securities of the business is beneficial because funding otherwise available for the business is not available on commercially reasonable terms.
Each applicant must sign a Qualified Company Agreement with the Kansas Department of Commerce.
Who are Angel Investors?
Angel investors are either individuals or groups looking to make an investment in new or existing businesses. The incentive for such investments is that they may yield a higher return than other methods of investing.
Most angel investors are entrepreneurs who have had their own business succeed in part due to such investments.
Only accredited angel investors can qualify for the Kansas Angel Investor Tax Credit by investing in Kansas Department of Commerce certified Kansas businesses.
The tax credit is 50% of the investor’s cash investment into a qualified Kansas Business
The tax credit may be used in its entirety in the taxable year in which the cash investment was made
The Tax Credits are transferable
If the amount of the credit exceeds the investors’ liability in any one taxable year the remaining portion of the credit may be carried forward until the total amount of credit is used
Investors can receive tax credits up to $50,000 in tax credits per company they invest in, not to exceed $250,000 in one year
If investing through a permitted entity, all the equity owners of the permitted entity must be accredited investors.
Certification of companies must meet mandates established by Kansas statute to allow accredited Angel Investors to receive the Kansas Angel Investor Tax Credit.
Applications for companies seeking investment are accepted through August 31, 2018. For complete information on the Kansas Angels Initiative, visit http://kansasangels.com.
Collaborations between business and government create opportunities for workers to be able to computer work from home in rural areas.
New Wave Broadband, LaHarpe, is one of those businesses.
New Wave Broadband has collaborated with the City of Fort Scott and Consolidated Rural Water District #2 to put broadband antennas on top of water towers to transmit from.
That allows employees to work from home, on their computer.
There is a New Wave antenna on towers four miles west of Fort Scott and also eight miles west at Redfield; east of Fort Scott on 260th and Kansas roads; and there is one coming to a rural area knows as Porterville, southwest of Fort Scott.
In town, there are New Wave antennas on top of towers south of the hospital, at the water treatment plant at Ninth and Burke streets, and at the middle school.
Mercy Hospital gets internet provided from the same company that New Wave does and “We share a communications closet,” David Lee said. “We have separate equipment.”
New Wave Broadband has its beginnings in the La Harpe Telephone Company, according to its’ website http://newwavebb.com
Joyce and Harry Lee, the owners, raised their family in La Harpe, and the family still operates the company today.
La Harpe Telephone was one of the owners of Kansas Cellular, which was sold in 1999 to Alltel.
Today, they are one of the 29 owners of Kansas Fiber Network, a communication system that delivers broadband connectivity to rural Kansas.
“Some people can work from home now, that couldn’t,” David Lee, son of Harry and Joyce Lee, said.
David Lee negotiates contracts and does installations for the business and “everything in between,” he said.
Lucretia Simpson, Marie Guss, and Jillian McAdams are some New Wave customers who work from home on computers, 8-12 hours a day, from a rural location.
Simpson and McAdams live just south of the Fort Scott city limits, Guss lives east of Fort Scott.
Simpson had a satellite set-up prior to New Wave, two years ago.
“After you used it so much, the company slowed it down,” she said.
Now she can work all day and still have data available to enjoy movies with her family, Simpson said.
Simpson paid for a wireless router.
“Our phone, tv, tablets are wireless, except my computer for work. It’s plugged in,” she said.
Guss switched companies “because it was accessible and they have faster internet speeds than where we had.” she said. “We were looking for download speeds so I could produce more at my job.”
The prior company would lose their signal frequently and take one to four hours to get it corrected, she said.
“I would have to work later in the day when the internet came back up,” Guss said.
Since signing onto New Wave in October 2017, the internet has not been working twice “and two hours at the most.” she said.
“David Lee is very good to respond and give an estimated time when it will be back up.”
McAdams moved to her current location about a year ago and tried another company. Weather conditions caused the internet go down, she said.
She then purchased a router from New Wave.
“We hard wired it into my computer and the phones are connected wirelessly,” McAdams said.
“New Wave has the best customer service I’ve ever had,” she said.
Governor Jeff Colyer announces the hiring of new Regulatory Ombudsman for Kansas Businesses
Topeka – Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D., today announced the hiring of Tom Arpke to fill the role of Regulatory Ombudsman at the Kansas Department of Commerce. Tom will help businesses looking to expand or start operating in Kansas to navigate the regulatory process and resolve questions or concerns.
“Kansas needs to be attracting more businesses and taking excellent care of the businesses that are already here,” said Gov. Jeff Colyer, “As I have traveled the state listening to business owners, they have told me they need a more direct line of communication when they have questions or concerns about regulations and other aspects of running a business in Kansas. This new position will ease that burden for business and Tom is just the man for the job.”
As Regulatory Ombudsman, Arpke will work as a liaison between the state and new and existing businesses evaluating all sides of an issue and helping identify options and strategies for resolution. He will also be able to escalate issues when necessary directly to the Governor and his Chief Operations Officer.
“I am grateful to Governor Colyer for the opportunity to serve in this new role for our state,” said Arpke, “As a business owner myself, I am looking forward to being able to assist new businesses as they look to open their doors in Kansas, as well as helping existing businesses find simple solutions to their concerns so they can spend more time focused on growing their business.”
Arpke received his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Microbiology from Florida State University. He has been actively serving the state of Kansas for the past six years, first as a Kansas State Representative from 2011-2013, followed by four years as a Kansas State Senator from 2013-2017. Since 2008 he has also been the owner of Arpke Inc. performing plant audits for environmental compliance and safety.
Businesses needing to contact the Ombudsman may use the following contact information. Phone: (833)765-2002, Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The building at the corner of Scott and Wall streets has seen better days.
But with the purchase of the property formerly known as the “The Spoiled Brat” building, there will be new activity. Spoiled Brat was the name of the beauty salon that was located there years ago.
Roy and Jody Hoener own the property now.
The Hoener’s envision this to be breathing new life into a previously condemned structure that sits at a gateway to Fort Scott.
The Hoener’s own The Hole In the Wall Liquor Store, currently located at 13 W. Oak.
The business has been in the family for three generations, Roy Hoener said.
“My grandpa, Roy Louderman, bought the business in 1985,” Roy said. “My mother, Connie Hoener, bought the one-half interest in 2005. In 2015 Jody and I took it over from my mom when she retired.”
But come October they are hoping to be moved to the new site at 124 E. Wall, Jody Hoener said.
“We are doing pretty good on the timeline,” Roy said.
Over the next month’s several local businesses will be helping the Hoeners transform the once blighted and deteriorating building into the store and in addition, apartments on the second floor.
The liquor store will be 24 by 84 foot in dimensions, Roy said, with the apartment space above having the same dimensions.
“We are trying for two apartments,” Roy said. “That will be down the road.”
Behind, to the south of the store, will be an event space, Roy said.
“It will be for wine tastings, etc.,” he said
Those businesses hired by the Hoeners are Hofer and Hofer and Associates Inc.-general contractor, Agricultural Engineering Associates-structural engineers overseeing the entire project, RII Concrete Construction LLC-steel work outside, Geiger Plumbing-plumbing, KTK Electric LLC-HVAC and new wiring and lights, Great Expectations LLC Restoration Company—inside floor joists, Murphy Roofing-roof, Kirby’s Cabinets-counter and display, Miles Woodworking-shelving, and Perry Cannon-interior painting.
The United State Supreme Court ruled recently ruled that states can now collect online sales tax from out-of-state vendors, according to a press release from Richard Hilderbrand (R-Galena).
“Before the Kansas Legislature moves forward, we must look closely to see how this will impact hardworking Kansans,” Hilderbrand said.
“The Supreme Court opinion on online sales taxes would work like this,” he said. ” Any taxing entity in the U.S; can now collect sales tax from any business that sells online to a customer that resides in their taxing jurisdiction.”
“This will put a huge burden on small businesses that currently sell online,” Hilderbrand said. “They will now have to answer to thousands of taxing entities. They will have to know what each sales tax rate is, and will also be subject to audits from those taxing entities.”
“Because this is an interstate commerce issue, it will be up to our U.S. Congress, and U.S. Senate to address this situation,” Hilderbrand said. “The state will have to decide on whether or not to start collecting taxes on out of state businesses that sell online to Kansas citizens. If the state decides to start collecting that sales tax, it will be another tax increase on Kansas citizens.”
“We cannot place another tax hike onto Kansas taxpayers for the third year in a row. An implementation of online sales tax must be coupled with a decrease in the overall sales tax rate. It is an embarrassment that Kansans pay some of the highest sales taxes in the Midwest. Our first priority should be to ease the financial burden on families by making Kansas a more affordable state,” according to the press release.”
“In 2017, the legislators passed a $1.2 billion retroactive income tax increase on the citizens of Kansas,” Hilderbrand said. “In 2018. the legislators failed to pass a tax-reform bill that would have allowed the citizens of Kansas to take advantage of the federal revenue windfall.”
“In failing to pass this legislation a significant number of Kansans, who previously benefited from income tax relief by itemizing deductions on Kansas returns, will no longer be able to do so because they will not be able to itemize at the federal level,” he said.
“The result of not passing this bill, is another income tax increase, specifically on Kansas homeowners who claimed the mortgage interest and property tax deductions in years past,” he said.
“The Senate passed this bill 21-19, but it failed in the house on a 59-59 vote. By not passing this tax-reform bill, it will lead to a tax increase of almost $500 million over the next three years,” Hilderbrand said.
“In 2019 the legislators will now be faced with this U.S. Supreme Court opinion and how it will affect our citizens. There are a lot of legislators that want to collect that extra tax and spend it. If that happens that will make it three years in a row that Kansans’ would have had a tax increase. If we are going to be serious about allowing our business’s in Kansas to be more competitive with our neighboring states, we cannot continue to be the highest sales tax state in the midwest.”
“The sales tax rate must be lowered so Kansans can keep more of their money in their pockets instead of being forced to send more and more money to Topeka,” Hilderbrand said.