Category Archives: Fort Scott

FSCC Adult Education and GED Program Orientation Slated for Sept. 12

Submitted by Heather Browne

Fort Scott Community College will hold the next orientation for the Adult Education and GED Program on Tuesday, September 12. The program is eight weeks long and students may choose from three sessions: 9 a.m. to noon, 1 to 4 p.m., or 4 to 7 p.m.

“Through the program, students will work to complete GED modules including math, reading, science and social studies,” said Aubrey Duft, FSCC Adult Basic Education Instructor. “The classes also focus on college readiness, career readiness and technology.”

Adult education classes are open to students ages 16 and older. Students who are under 18 must have a Parental Waiver for Compulsory Attendance to attend class; the form can be obtained from the last school district the student attended.

The cost for the class is $30 and includes the ACCUPLACER college entrance exam, Northstar Digital Literacy Certification, WorkKeys Employment Skills Test, TABE assessment, and one GED Ready Practice Test. GED testing fees are not included.

The classes will take place in the FSCC Student Success Center, located in Bailey Hall, 2108 South Horton, Fort Scott. To enroll, please contact DeAnn Welch, FSCC Student Success Center Director, at 620-223-2700, ext. 4300.


A Playground for Fort Scott

Community Champion Event:

Roast and Toast to Frank Halsey

 “Build a new playground at the Mercy of Frank Halsey”

Presented by The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team

Underwritten by Janet Irby Braun & Family

Time is running out to get your tickets to the Community Champion Event on Saturday, August 19, at Liberty Theatre! You can purchase tickets at or at the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce. The deadline is August 15.  You can expect an evening full of fun and entertainment for your $50 ticket. The social hour starts at 6 p.m. with a cash bar and background music provided by Kansas City’s Private Stock. This will give attendees the opportunity to have pictures taken and buy a raffle ticket for a chance to win a $500 gift certificate to Tailwind Cyclists! Raffle tickets are only $3 each or four for $10. Crooner’s Lounge will provide a buffet of heavy hors d’oeuvres at 7 p.m. followed by entertainment and comedy in the form of a roast co-hosted by Larry Gazaway and Gregg Motley. Attendees are welcome to stay for music and dancing with Private Stock until 11 p.m.

Frank Halsey has been selected as the first Community Champion due to his commitment to the Gunn Park Trails. Returning home from a bike ride in another town, Frank was determined to build a trail for himself and his friends to enjoy. From this simple idea came a project several years in the making. Frank did not take, ‘No,’ for an answer. He also didn’t take cease and desist orders, requests from the City, or opposition of any kind. Thanks to his efforts, Gunn Park now boasts 6.5 miles of biking and hiking trails and the growth continues today. The trails added more life to this century-old park with several annual events attracting visitors from other states to ride the Gunn Park Trails.

One hundred percent of ticket and raffle sales will be going to fund a Multi-Sensory Playground at Ellis Park. Your community members, neighbors and friends will all benefit from the inclusive playground. One such family, The Walkers, has told the story of how a playground will benefit their family:

No one wants to be excluded from fun. Even more important, no parent wants their child to be an observer to play instead of a participant.

Play is a child’s work and it is very important for their development. Children learn about themselves, the people around them, their environment and their community through play. Our family loves the community we live in. Fort Scott is an amazing place! We would love to see all children have the ability to thrive within this community. 

We used to take for granted the opportunity to take our children to the park to play on the playground, that is, until our youngest child, Ella, was born. Ella was born with a birth defect called Spina Bifida. This is where her spine did not form completely so she has spinal cord damage. There are varying degrees to this birth defect. This affects Ella’s ability to walk, amongst other things. She requires assistance by the use of braces on her feet, crutches, a walker or the support of another person for distances and on uneven surfaces; while many persons with this disability require the use of a wheelchair.

Ella struggles in some way or another at most of the parks in town, mainly with unstable surfaces or inability to climb. Most playgrounds have rocks, mulch and/or hills. Often ones with smooth surfaces are not accessible by wheelchair or walker. For safety, smooth surfaces and ground level equipment are essential to all those with this need in mind.

Her challenges are increasing as she becomes older. Ella has turned four years old and is becoming heavier for us to carry. Crawling, her preferred method of travel, is not a safe alternative for her on the playground. Her peers are now walking most of the time, so she is viewed as a baby to many children her own age, and even children younger. Her feelings are often hurt when her peers view her as something less than themselves.

We always welcome questions from children as well as adults as to why Ella walks the way she does, what her equipment and braces are for, and any other questions they might have. By giving Ella the mobility she needs she will learn how to be an active member of society.

Play environments designed to be fair allow everyone to participate as equitably and as independently as possible with their siblings, neighbors, caregivers and friends. (  It is a positive thing to have playgrounds for children of all abilities—physically able and disabled—to play together. By being inclusive to all children, the able-bodied children learn how to interact with disabled children, as well as the other way around.

This gives all children the opportunity to grow confidence in their abilities—socially and physically. All four of our children have played on inclusive playgrounds and enjoyed all of the equipment together, without realizing it was intended for less able-bodied persons.

God creates each of us with different purpose, intent and design; but He loves us all equally! We know that in the future there will be others that will have the same, or more needs for these opportunities in our community. Placing inclusive playgrounds in our community will have a positive impact for generations to come.

Country Place Living Provides Care in Assisted Living

Since their opening in January, Country Place Living continues to provide an assisted living place for individuals or couples that need assistance in day-to-day life.

Located on Horton Street, right next to the Country Place Memory Care living facility, Country Place Living has 26, 1-bedroom studio apartments, and currently houses seven individuals as the facility continues to grow and publicize its services in the community.

“We can provide high levels of care,” Director Amanda Downing said during Thursday’s Chamber Coffee event, adding some people conclude that they are able to provide only limited attention.

Downing said they can provide temporary care as well as help continue rehabilitation for those who need that attention after a procedure. Meals are prepared on-site and staff provides close care for residents, who can enjoy being outside on the porch or visiting with others in a community room.

“Most of our people, once they have come and toured and really seen the difference…it really sells itself,” Downing said.

FSNHS Scavenger Hunt Rescheduled to August 12

Submitted by Fort Scott National Historic Site

Fort Scott NHS has rescheduled its Scavenger Hunt to this Saturday, August 12, at 1 p.m. Intense thunderstorms and lightning caused the event, originally planned for last Saturday, to be cancelled for safety reasons.

Fort Scott National Historic Site hopes everyone who planned to attend previously will participate on the new date. Hopes are high that the weather will cooperate. The event will be fun for all ages and prizes will be awarded for the first and second place teams.

All participants are encouraged to show up 10 minutes early with their cell phone or camera. Contestants will be given a list of clues directing them to certain items that tell a story about the rich history of the site. Participants will then take photos of the corresponding items. The winning team/individual will receive a $50 gift card, with $25 awarded to the second place finishers.

This fun event is being hosted by the Youth Engagement Team at Fort Scott National Historic Site in partnership with the Friends of the Fort. Thanks go to the Friends of the Fort for sponsoring the prizes. Call the Fort at 620-223-0310 with questions or for more information.

Dr. Phelps Retires from Mercy after 38 Years

Submitted by Tina Rockhold, Mercy Hospital

Dave Phelps M.D. retired from Mercy Hospital Fort Scott on August 1. He has been on staff in various capacities since July 1, 1979, when he and Dr. Randy Nichols joined the medical staff and the Basham-McKenna clinic after completing Family Practice Residency training at Wesley Medical Center.

Photo Credit: Mercy Hospital. Marilyn Sipe (left), executive assistant, and Reta Baker (right), Mercy Hospital Fort Scott president, wish Dr. Dave Phelps farewell during his retirement celebration.

Dr. Phelps practiced Family Medicine with Obstetrics and also developed his practice with an emphasis on Geriatrics, having Additional Qualifications in Geriatrics certificates granted. In 1996 when Fort Scott Family Physicians integrated with Mercy Health System, he served first as Medical Director, and later Chief Medical Officer for both Fort Scott and Independence. To be effective in that role he earned a Masters Degree in Medical Management from Tulane University. In 2003 he returned to active practice in Fort Scott fulltime as an Emergency Physician and was Physician ER Director until just recently as he made plans to retire from practice. As such, his career has concluded after 38 years of service to the Fort Scott community.

“When Randy Nichols and I came with our spouses, Karen and Deb, to Fort Scott to see the opportunity here, we just fell in love with the community,” Dr. Phelps says. “It was a very good idea. I remember when Dr. Basham retired in 1981, the Tribune asked him in an interview to list the greatest changes he had seen in health care in his practice. He practiced from the mid 1940s to 1980. I remember he named three: the development of vaccination and winning the fight with polio, the development and use of antibiotics including Penicillin, and finally, the practice of delivering babies at the hospital rather than at home.”

Dr. Phelps went on to say, “That got me thinking how I would answer the same question, with my practice from 1979 to 2017. Naturally there have been many advances in surgical technique and treatments, but I think what has changed is how we do things rather than what we do. Three things come to my mind about this: first, the development of the system-wide Electronic Medical Record allowing us access to a more complete information base regarding a patient, wherever we see them. This often includes their visits to other health facilities in Kansas.

“Second is the idea of Evidence-Based Medicine. Treatment choices now are based on scientific studies based on patient’s outcomes, rather than just ‘expert’ opinion in the field. This has changed a lot of medical practices. Such information is immediately available to doctors on line and updated every six months.

“Finally, the last is I think a mixed blessing. At the beginning of my career, individual and small group practices were the way to go. People usually identified a particular physician as ‘my doctor.’ But now, small practices are very hard to make successful, especially for primary care doctors. I firmly believe the development of health systems and taking care of patients in a team approach is absolutely necessary these days. It can be very effective. But, I kind of miss the relationships I had with so many fine people and the sense they thought of me as their doctor. That relationship could be powerful medicine sometimes.”

Upon his retirement Dr Phelps plans to spend more time with his wife Deb, do some sailing, a little fishing with friends and travel around a bit.

He said, “I’ll never forget Fort Scott and my friends there. It’s been a great place to practice.”

Mercy administration is currently recruiting a replacement for Dr. Phelps. In the interim, the Mercy Fort Scott’s Emergency Department is staffing with contractual physicians trained in emergency medicine.


Fort Scott Airport Faces Growth Opportunity

With the rise of a special opportunity, the Fort Scott Municipal Airport may see an increase in traffic as well as in the size of the airport in upcoming years.

For some time, airport director Kenny Howard has made efforts to grow the local airport in order to attract more traffic and bring new revenue to the city and county, but was always forced to wait because of lack of city funding and not meeting Federal Aviation Administration requirements for FAA grants.

But during the Fort Scott City Commission’s meeting Tuesday night, City Manager Dave Martin, Economic Development Direct Rachel Pruitt and Howard presented what Martin referred to as an “exciting” and “scary” opportunity for the city.

Pruitt said a key part of aviation is maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services, an industry growing in size and importance in the country as such companies work with airports to provide repairs for jets such as those that fly into Fort Scott.

One of those companies, Spectra jet, Inc., out of Springfield, Ohio, has expressed interest in expanding their company to include a station at Fort Scott. But for that to be a possibility, Fort Scott would have to commit to a runway expansion in order to be able to house the Learjet and Challenger models Spectra services.

“It’s opened up a lot of opportunities for us,” Pruitt said, saying already they have heard of individuals interested in bringing a restaurant to the airport, while additional hangars and a pilot’s lounge could also be added.

“This would be a great opportunity for our community,” Howard said of the expansion and the attraction it would be to other businesses.

Pruitt said she is already looking into state and federal grants the city could pursue since the expansion would bring about an economic impact on the city as well as the airport.

During the meeting, the commission approved a master agreement with Olsson Associates and a work order of $43,000 for the initial steps of allowing them to complete topographical and other surveys to determine what will need to be done at the airport in preparation for such an expansion.

Diane Hofer, airport program leader for Olsson Associates, said they have done many other airport projects such as this.

“It’s definitely a good industry to bring into town,” Hofer said of the possible expansion and addition.

If the city commits to the runway expansion, Spectra could bring their business to the area even before the project is complete, servicing jets currently able to use the runway.

KOMB-FM Welcomes New Personality

With the beginning of high school and college athletics approaching, Fort Scott residents will soon hear a new voice broadcasting the sports over the radio as Brandon Tadtman continues to transition into his position with KOMB-FM radio.

In April, Tadtman sought part-time work with the local radio station, in large part because his father was now living in Fort Scott after completing his first season as the Fort Scott Community College’s womens’ basketball coach. But instead of getting those part-time hours, Tadtman was given a full-time job due to the departure of personality Larry Gazaway, who took on the city’s director of tourism position.

After having spent the previous six months working outside of the radio business in Kansas City, Tadtman quickly transitioned into working the morning shift for KOMB-FM of Fort Scott, being on the air 6 to 9 a.m.

“I was thrown in pretty quickly into the fire,” Tadtman says, saying he only had a few days to shadow Gazaway. “But now everything’s pretty smooth. It’s been good.”

Tadtman first became aware of his interest in radio commentary as a sophomore high school student in his hometown of Winfield, a town of similar size to Fort Scott southeast of Wichita. When the high school hosted the 5A state softball tournament, Tadtman was asked by a friend to help provide color commentary. That opportunity and his fondness for sports led to his interest in pursuing that as a career.

While attending Kansas State University, Tadtman participated in the student-run radio station as the sports broadcaster, often traveling with the teams to call their games.

“I thought that was very beneficial to me,” Tadtman says of that opportunity, which allowed him to learn the ins and outs of radio as a student. “It was a really awesome experience.”

Upon his graduation, Tadtman continued to work in radio in Manhattan before taking on a more logistical job in Kansas City. But Tadtman realized he missed being on the radio and pursued a position in Fort Scott.

While used to being on air, Tadtman says his new position is different from his usual sports broadcasting as he now provides other news and frequently interviews guests to the station.

“It is a little bit different here,” Tadtman says. “I wasn’t used to being on the air as much as the DJ because I was strictly doing sports in Manhattan.”

While he has enjoyed the chance to gain experience in the station, Tadtman says he is especially looking forward to the upcoming sports activities and says he hopes the community will enjoy his sports broadcasting, where he has the most experience.

Because he spent much of his earlier years in a small town, Tadtman says that the transition to Fort Scott has not been difficult as he tries to familiarize himself with the town and its residents. He added that he is grateful for the positive feedback he has received.

“I appreciate the community taking me in and letting me be their person that provides the information that they need every day,” Tadtman says, adding he has enjoyed living in Fort Scott these first few months. “I appreciate the people of Fort Scott. They’ve welcomed me with open arms.”

Tadtman also says he has been grateful for an easy transition while working with the KOMB staff, and their acceptance of him and willingness to help him as he grew accustomed to the job and tried to add his own personality.

“Everyone here is nice and they have accepted me,” Tadtman says. “I couldn’t be more happy with how easy the transition was.”