Category Archives: Fort Scott

Fort to host weekend Symbols of Sacrifice events

Submitted by Fort Scott National Historic Site

Fort Scott National Historic Site (FSNHS) is pleased to present Symbols of Sacrifice, September 9-15, honoring the sacrifice of Americans throughout our nation’s history.

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Park Ranger Bill Fischer looks over the Parade Ground of the Fort during the 2015 Symbols of Sacrifice week.

The main focus of the event will be a Field of Honor on the historic FSNHS Parade Ground, where a United States flag will fly for each service member who has died while serving in theater supporting U.S. military operations during the Global war on Terrorism. The purpose is to remember the fallen, their sacrifice and their humanity, not to glorify war.

Symbols of Sacrifice begins on Friday, Sept. 9, when school children and concerned citizens will place the flags on the Parade Ground. The public is invited to participate but will need first to register and receive instructions at the Visitor Center upon arrival at the site.

FSNHS is pleased to partner with Ralph Carlson and the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Center in hosting the community’s free Friday Night Downtown Concert on Sept. 9. Join us outside the Visitor Center, where the concert begins at 7 p.m. with an artillery volley and garrison flag lowering to honor the fallen. While benches will be available, please bring your own folding chairs for more comfort.

Beginning at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, volunteer community members will read the names of the nearly 7,000 honored fallen from the Global War on Terrorism over the downtown Fort Scott public address system. As you hear the names of those sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, cousins and friends, please take a moment to thank them and the unnamed millions of other members of the U.S. Armed Forces who have answered the call to defend our freedom throughout the generations.

Then, Saturday evening, we are pleased to welcome the U.S. Army National Guard’s 35th Infantry Division Band’s Brass Quintet. These citizen-soldiers from Kansas and Missouri will perform a free concert on the FSNHS grounds. The evening’s activities begin at 6 p.m. with Mrs. Jennifer Jackman, past president of the American Gold Star Mothers, offering remarks on the fine work performed by that organization in supporting the families of the fallen, those still serving and all of America’s military veterans. Again, while the site will provide bench seating, we invite the public to bring personal folding chairs for a more enjoyable evening.

The Field of Honor will remain open during the daylight hours from Friday, Sept. 9, through noon on Thursday, Sept. 15.

 

Fort Scott takes step toward permitting UTVs on streets

During their meeting Tuesday evening, the Fort Scott City Commission decided to allow city manager Dave Martin and others to begin drafting an ordinance allowing utility task vehicles to be driven on city streets.

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In recent weeks, the issue of allowing the off-road UTVs on streets had come to the commissioners’ attention, with residents speaking both in favor of such an allowance as well as in opposition to it.

“We can’t make everybody happy, although we try,” Martin said.

Martin said he had discussed the decision with residents and the majority spoke in favor of such an ordinance, while those opposed to it referenced concerns such as their speed capabilities, ranging from 25 to 75 miles per hour, and the fact manufacturers built them as off-road vehicles.

A number of residents addressed the commission during Tuesday’s meeting and said they believe UTVs, including vehicles such as Kawasaki Mules and other models, are safer than motorcycles and golf carts as well as some cars.

Police Chief Travis Shelton gave a report, saying he had contacted other cities that allow UTVs on the streets, including Chanute, Parsons and Pittsburg. In speaking with representatives from those police departments, Shelton said they reported little trouble when it came to accidents, chases, ticketing and reckless driving involving UTVs.

“I don’t think you’ll have a problem with them” UTV owner Eric Shoemaker said, also emphasizing that he believes the UTV tires are also safe for the streets. “These are a lot safer than a golf cart.”

Martin said he had heard the UTV tires are strictly for off-road use and would not have proper traction on streets, but others in attendance at the meeting assured him otherwise, merely pointing out that the tires would likely wear out faster.

“I think there’s a lot of people in this county that it’s going to help,” said resident Tim Bradbury.

The commissioners approved writing an ordinance by January 1, with a 4-0 vote, with commissioner Jim Adams absent. That deadline will give Martin and others such as Shelton time to continue their research and determine what restrictions and regulations will be in place, such as being a licensed driver, 18 years or older and what safety features such as seat belts and turning signals will be required.

When the ordinance is complete, the commission will again address the issue and decide to approve it or not.

Fort provides historical activities for holiday weekend

During the Labor Day weekend, scores of visitors came to Fort Scott National Historic Site to participate in a variety of activities and demonstrations relating to the fort’s history.

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Activities included artillery, mounted, baking and other demonstrations, guided tours of the fort as well as discussions on life for the officers’ wives at the fort, the construction of the fort and the importance of guard duty. The weekend events also included the Centennial Grand Ball held Saturday evening at Memorial Hall.

Guns, Horses, and Guns Featured for Labor Day Weekend at Fort

Submitted by Fort Scott National Historic Site

The three things that most attract visitors to Fort Scott—guns, horses and guns— will be featured on Labor Day Weekend this year at Fort Scott National Historic Site.

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A program demonstrating the small arms of both the infantry and the dragoons soldiers will be offered on Saturday and Sunday this weekend, while the site’s artillery crew will fire the big gun on Sunday and Monday. Additionally on Saturday, reenactors portraying dragoon soldiers will be on horseback and offering mounted demonstrations. Other programs that weekend will honor the work of the soldiers or things the soldiers did to take a break from work.

On Saturday, September 3, the bakehouse and mess hall will be active with the smells of soldiers cooking bread and the noon meal. An 1840s doctor will have his shingle out at the post hospital. A laundress will be demonstrating Dutch oven cooking and a soldier will be showcasing 1840s construction methods and tools.

On Sunday and Monday, you can catch up on the latest gossip at the fort in a program titled “Frontier Gossip,” which will focus on officers’ wives at Fort Scott. “Bucket Brigade” will be a relay showing how the guards fought fires. Kids of all ages are invited to participate in this program and should be prepared to get wet.

On Monday, there will also be a special Labor Day tour “From the Crack Post of the Frontier:” This tour will focus on the labor force, building materials, architectural styles and construction techniques used in the building of Fort Scott.

In addition to these programs, there will be a Centennial Grand Ball on Saturday, September 3rd, at the historic Memorial Hall. It is being hosted by the volunteers and Friends of Fort Scott National Historic Site in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service. Doors open at 6 p.m. with dancing from 7 to 10:30 p.m.

Admission for the ball is as follows

 General Public- $15 in advance/$20 at the door per person, or two for $25 in advance/$35 at the door.

 Friends members- $10 in advance/$15 at the door.

 Children 12 and under and Dance Observers- $5.

All proceeds go to the “Friends” group, which will use the funds to support special programs at the historic site. Tickets can be purchased at Country Cupboard or the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce. A rehearsal for the ball will be held that Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the historic site’s Grand Hall.

Following is the schedule of activities for the weekend.

Saturday, September 3rd

10:00 a.m. “Flour, Sweat and Tears”-Bakehouse Talk

10:00 a.m. Dance rehearsal for Centennial Ball

11:00 a.m. Guided Tour

12:00 p.m. “Hardy Dashing Fellows”-Mounted Demonstration

1:00 p.m. “Flash in the Pan” -Small Arms Demonstration

2:00 p.m. “Home Improvement” (without the power tools) -1840s Construction Demo

3:00 p.m. “Hardy Dashing Fellows”-Mounted Demonstration

4:00 p.m. Flag Retreat

7:00 p.m. Centennial Grand Ball (Memorial Hall)

Sunday, September 4th

11:00 a.m. Guided Tour

1:00 p.m. Thunder Wagon: 1840s Artillery Demo

2:00 p.m. “Frontier Gossip”-The Real Lives of Fort Scott Officers’ Wives

3:00 p.m. “Flash in the Pan” -Small Arms Demonstration

4:00 p.m. Flag Retreat

Monday, September 5th

11:00 a.m. “Crack Post of the Frontier” –Guided Tour-Construction History of Fort Scott

1:00 p.m. Thunder Wagon: 1840s Artillery Demo

2:00 p.m. “Frontier Gossip”-The Real Lives of Fort Scott Officers’ Wives

3:00 p.m. Bucket Brigade: 1840s Guard Duty and Firefighting

4:00 p.m. Flag Retreat

 

FSCC ranked fifth in nation

With the first day of fall classes rapidly approaching, Fort Scott Community College can again boast in the fact that it is ranked in the top five community colleges in the nation according to a study by SmartAsset.

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For a third year, the New York based company looked at the community colleges in the nation and ranked them according to their in-state tuition, student-faculty ratio, the graduation and transfer rate and the ratio of the students’ starting salaries upon entering the work force compared to their tuition fees.

Out of the 565 two-year colleges considered, FSCC was ranked fifth, dropping from its position at number one in 2015 only because of a slight decrease in their graduation and transfer rate, which SmartAsset revealed had been evident in many of the colleges in their most recent study.

“It is really an honor,” FSCC President Alysia Johnston said, saying the study again shows they offer high quality courses at an affordable price. “We’re very proud of our faculty and staff and of course our students.”

The study showed that FSCC has a student-professor ratio of 14-1, more ideal than the national average of 20-1. The starting salary for students is 1.05 times the tuition they paid and the graduation and transfer rate is 51 percent, higher than the 40 percent national average but slightly lower than previous years.

“Continuous improvement is what we’re striving for,” Johnston said, adding the study is evidence of those efforts made by the staff at FSCC.

SmartAsset’s vice president of content, AJ Smith, oversaw the research for the study which has placed FSCC as one of the top two-year colleges each of the three years the study was released.

“Compared to the national averages, Fort Scott does very well,” Smith said.

Neosho County Community College was ranked ninth in the nation after being considered #45 on the list in the previous year’s study results.

Smith said SmartAsset’s goal is to provide readers insight concerning financial issues, especially large purchases and investments such as college tuition. For more details on the recent study, see the following link:  https://smartasset.com/student-loans/best-community-colleges-2016

Citizens Bank holds Grand Opening

The Fort Scott branch of Citizens Bank celebrated their arrival with a grand opening event Wednesday, providing food and drawings as well as the opportunity to view the location on Highway 69.

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The fifth branch of Security Bank out of Rich Hill opened its doors in Fort Scott at the end of May, providing another option for members of the community looking for loans or other assistance with finances.

“We’re pretty versatile,” bank president Cliff Yarick said of their services, expressing their excitement to be in Fort Scott.

Bank owner Randy Shannon said they are glad to bring a branch of their bank to Fort Scott, a larger community that is still rural and agriculture-based, after opening other branches in smaller communities such as Hume and Rich Hill.

“We’re just glad to be here,” Shannon said, saying they look forward to serving the banking needs of the community.

Lindsay Madison, executive director of the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce, said she is glad to see an empty building being put to use once again in Fort Scott.

“We are extremely excited that you’re here,” Madison said. “We’re excited to have another business that’s really involved in the community.”

Fort Scott’s Bark in the Park open to visitors

Despite the wet weather, numerous dogs and their owners attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday morning for the new Bark in the Park dog run located at Gunn Park near Shelter House #7.

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The idea for the dog park began when community members Jim and Martha Scott saw such a park a few years ago when traveling through another city. Since that time, the city of Fort Scott, the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce and several other individual businesses and persons assisted in making the park a reality.

“It was all donations,” Jim Scott announced. “No tax dollars.”

Some of the donations included dog toys, park benches, waste bags, a sign as well as money for the fencing materials and time volunteered to dig the postholes from businesses such as Sleep Inn and Suites and Walmart as well as a collection of individuals.

“When you have a community like Bourbon County and like Fort Scott, you can do these things to raise the money, because you don’t need tax dollars,” Scott said. “Because the people raise it and say ‘I want to help, that sounds like a great idea.’”

Lindsay Madison, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, expressed their excitement for the new dog park and encouraged others to approach the chamber with similar ideas for the city of Fort Scott.

“This is just one additional, great asset to our community,” Madison said. “The more things we have here, the more people will come.”

USD 234 to provide online enrollment

With the software already in place, the Unified School District 234 will utilize online enrollment for the first time this school semester as a means to provide a more convenient method for parents and guardians to enroll their students and make payments.

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“We hope it’s a great asset for our parents,” business manager Gina Shelton said during the board of education meeting held Monday evening, pointing out that the same process will be completed by parents, whether done in person or online.

The online enrollment will kick off Friday, July 15, and will allow guardians to log into their Parent PowerSchool account, where they can enroll students, pay textbook fees and add money to lunch accounts electronically. That online enrollment will be available until at least about a week prior to the Sept. 1, school start date, providing time for the information to be imported.

Any progress made in the enrollment process can also be saved and returned to later at the parent’s convenience. Those enrolling more than one student can decide to enroll and pay for one student at a time instead of all at once or having to make numerous trips to the school offices.

“We’ve had some good feedback, I feel like, from anticipation of people doing it,” Shelton said of the response so far.

Shelton said the school completed a couple internal tests already and said the process is simple, likely taking only about 15 minutes, but Shelton encourages parents to go ahead and start gathering information so that process will not be delayed once it is started. Some of that information required includes contact information for parents and step-parents, such as phone numbers, addresses and social security numbers; three emergency contacts, preferably local; and the student’s basic medical information such as immunizations, personal doctor and any allergies.

With the easily available opportunity to use electronic payments such as credit or debit cards as well as checks, Shelton said they hope it may reduce the number of returned checks, adding the entire process will help the district save money.

New students to the district will still be required to enroll in person.

Those needing to find out who their students’ teachers will be in the upcoming semester can contact the individual school secretaries after Aug. 17. That information will be posted on Parent PowerSchool about a week after that date.

If anyone comes across an issue while enrolling online, they can contact Jason Fryar at jfryar@usd234.org or contacting the board office at 620-223-0800 for assistance.

“We want to be as helpful as possible,” Shelton said, especially as it is their first year of using the online enrollment.

Shelton said the only thing that cannot be done online is the free and reduced food application, which still needs to be printed out and sent in or dropped off at the school. Shelton encourages all parents to fill them out because it affects school funding.

Shelton also pointed out that there will be a flat textbook fee of $35 this year instead of providing reduced textbook fees based on free and reduced lunches. Accommodations may be available for those unable to pay at once.

During their July meeting, the board of education also took time to reorganize itself as it does annually. Jordan Witt was nominated to be the board president for another year. Gary Billionis submitted his resignation from the board, effective immediately. Jamie Armstrong was nominated to take his place as board vice president. Vanessa Poyner was named the hearing officer for suspensions and expulsions.

The Bunker brings weapons training and retail to Fort Scott

During their grand opening held Saturday July 2, The Bunker drew a large number of visitors to their downtown store to purchase weapons and other gear or learn about the training courses the store will offer.

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Chad Wise, a member of the United States Army and assistant professor currently stationed at Fort Leavenworth, said he is scheduled to retire this year and, about three years ago, he and his wife Melissa began considering a business such as The Bunker where he could continue putting his skills gained through the army to good use.

“Why not find a way to utilize it?” Wise said of that knowledge of firearms and training from his time spent in the army and teaching graduate level courses to officers. “I wanted something else to do.”

Recognizing the growing demand for firearms and concealed carry licenses as gun laws continue to change, Wise said they began working towards opening The Bunker, with great support from the city and the community, to bring not just weapons retail but training courses to Fort Scott.

“I think there’s always a need for weapons safety and being comfortable with a firearm,” Wise said.

Currently, The Bunker will open its doors 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Saturday until Wise retires, with more hours potentially being added to that based on the community’s interest. A wide variety of new and used weapons and other equipment will be available at the store located on Scott Avenue.

Starting next week, The Bunker will also regularly offer training courses at an off-site, outdoor range located about six miles west of Fort Scott, where participants can receive basic instruction including self-defense, safety, shooting techniques, loading and unloading a weapon and other aspects of using pistols and rifles. Different technical courses will offer a range of training for participants with different levels of experience.

Events include couples’ and ladies’ nights as well as classes on conceal carry. Group team-building events can also be scheduled for any organizations or businesses interested in a group outing.

Wise said some classes have already sold out, but more will continue to be scheduled. Depending on the demand, he added they hope to possibly add an indoor range at their downtown location as well.

Already, Wise said they have received a good response concerning the classes, which will be informative as well as fun, as different competitions and even meals are provided during select courses.

“A family-friendly environment is really important to us,” Wise said, saying they will not teach offensive tactics, but defensive and self-protection strategies.

The classes will be taught by Wise as well as Mike Trim, of the local police department, and his brother Nick. Weapons and ammunition will be available for rent for the courses and ear and eye protection can be provided if needed.

Those interested in learning more about The Bunker and what it offers can visit it at 108 Scott Avenue and at their website, www.thebunkerllc.com.

Upcoming events in Fort Scott

A number of announcements concerning upcoming community events were shared during the weekly Chamber Coffee Thursday morning. Stay up to date on these events and more by visiting the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism website.

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This week’s Chamber Coffee event was hosted at the Public Safety Building and and also took time to recognize the local police and fire departments and dispatch for their service to the city for more than a century.

  • The Young Professionals League will hold their July luncheon Friday at noon at Papa Don’s, delayed a week because of the holiday weekend. Published author Michael Smith will be the guest speaker. The YPL will then hold a social gathering at the Vinedo Del Alamo Winery for a wine-tasting event Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
  • The annual Marmaton Massacre will again be held at Gunn Park as a two-day event, Saturday and Sunday, and will include activities such as live music, camping, a kids’ race as well as the marathon and bike trials on Saturday and the main event and category races on Sunday. Cyclists and even others not interested in the races are invited to come to the park and enjoy the family-friendly festivities.
  • On Tuesday, July 12, the Beaux Arts Centre will host the quarterly, downtown meet and greet at 8:30 a.m. Representatives from downtown businesses as well as members of the community interested in gathering information are encouraged to attend.
  • My Father’s House will hold a fundraising pancake breakfast Saturday July 16, beginning at 9 a.m., with the meal costing $5 per adult and $3 for children.
  • A Texas Hold ‘Em event will be held Saturday July 16, at 3 p.m. as a fundraiser to raise about $5,500 for new uniforms for the Fort Scott High School girls’ basketball team.
  • CrossFit Fort Scott will celebrate its first year in the city with a birthday celebration and kickball tournament Saturday July 23, at 10 a.m. at Gunn Park. Teams and other members of the community are encouraged to come participate.
  • The candidate forum for the August 2, election is tentatively scheduled for Monday July 25, to be hosted by the Chamber of Commerce at the Ellis Fine Arts Center at Fort Scott Community College.
  • With the Bark in the Park dog park nearing completion at Gunn Park, a ribbon-cutting and grand opening event is scheduled to be held Saturday August 6, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will include free pet toys, snacks and even a dog costume and best trick contest for those who attend.
  • Fort Scott Community College will host their annual Black and White Gala on August 13. Fewer than 100 tickets remain and should be purchased as soon as possible.

City Commission approves technological improvements

During their first July meeting, the Fort Scott City Commission approved a series of recommendations from financial director Jon Garrison and director of informational technology Dustin McClure to improve the efficiency of the technology among the public buildings.

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The three requests the commission unanimously approved included changes to the city website, economic development website, fiber systems and phone system. While some of the items require the city to commit sums of money to the improvements, others will save the city even larger amounts in upcoming years.

The planning process to update the current phone system to a digital program began a couple years ago and, although it will cost $20,000 initially, the city would then save about $46,000 each year. The phone lines will move away from the current 62 lines used between the city buildings.

“We are able to improve our technology but also save quite a bit of money,” Garrison said of the change.

In recent years, the city also got a high-speed fiber network through Suddenlink, but now needs to expand that reach. By working with the county and United School District 234, the city will be able to connect their own fiber system with the other taxing entities’ to connect city hall to other places such as the police station and public works facility.

“It just opens up a wide variety of benefits, not only for us, but for the school and the county,” Garrison said, while McClure emphasized the shared lines will not compromise security from the other entities and will be redundant enough that, if a line went down, the entities would not each lose their systems.

This project will cost about $60,000 and is available in the city budget.

City Manager Dave Martin said having the high-speed fiber network is key to the city moving forward, especially by connecting them to the police department.

The final project approved by the commission included hiring Civic Plus to make updates to the city website for a total of $46,014 stretched over three years. The changes would allow visitors to the website to accomplish more such as receiving or giving information. Martin said a city’s website is often crucial for businesses or potential visitors considering coming to Fort Scott.

“We feel very strongly that it’s something we need to do to continue moving the city forward,” Garrison said.

The city also heard a report from Director of Economic Development Heather Smith concerning her plan to separate the economic development website from the city’s, apart from sharing a link, so that economic information can be found readily without being lost in other city details. Smith said she plans to work with the area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism on the site.

Kids invited to a fun week at National Historic Site during Trailblazer Program

Submitted July 1

Calling all kids in Fort Scott and the surrounding area! Are you bored sitting around the house playing video games this summer? Are you looking for something fun and exciting to do? Do you like to dig in the dirt? Or act in a play? How about doing scavenger hunts or looking through old buildings?

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Photo Credit: Fort Scott National Historic Site

All of these activities will be offered as part of Fort Scott National Historic Site’s Trailblazer program for youth from ages 9-12. Participants can sign up for one of two weeks, July 18–22 or August 1–5, with programs running from 8:30 a.m. to noon each of those days.

During the week, youth will dig for buried treasure, explore the fascinating creatures and plants of the prairie, go green and have fun. The program will attempt to answer the question: “Kids, will they love National Parks?” We hope by the end of this week that the response will be yes!

A new and exciting element this year is an artist workshop. Youth will be guided by a professional artist in creating National Park Service inspired paintings, drawings, etc., that they will show off to their parents.

Registration for the workshop is underway. To register, contact Fort Scott National Historic Site at (620) 223-0310. Participants must be aged 9-12 years as of the beginning day of the camp. They will be sent an informational packet after registration is complete. There is no charge for the workshop.