Category Archives: Fort Scott

Woods Supermarket to close Fort Scott location

After being a part of Fort Scott since 2000, the Woods Supermarket is scheduled to close its doors the first week of November.


The grocery store announced the news to the community Wednesday and is now holding a closeout sale in order to get rid of as many items as they can prior to their November 5, closing date.

Woods began in 1947 in Long Lane, Mo., with the purchase of a small country general store by Don and Bertha Woods, but has since expanded to include about 12 locations, with Fort Scott being the only one in Kansas while the others are located in Missouri.

YPL helps clean up downtown

Members of the Young Professionals League invested their time and efforts into downtown Fort Scott Tuesday evening by washing windows and sweeping the sidewalks in order to make the vacant storefronts more presentable.


YPL executive board member Jessica Schenkel said she had recently come across records of the YPL doing a similar downtown event in 2008, and decided that would be a good way for the young professionals to get more involved in the community.

“We’re trying to do some more events to get the YPL out into the public eye,” Schenkel said, saying they want to encourage other young professionals to get involved in the organization as well as make sure the rest of the community knows they exist.

The YPL also helps with other community events throughout the year, such as through the high school job fair and a soup kitchen to raise money for the Beacon, this year switching to an enchilada meal for that same goal. On Saturday, a team of YPL members participated in the kickball tournament to help raise money for a new 3D mammogram machine for Mercy Hospital.

The organization’s members also gather for monthly social events as well as hold a meeting the first Friday of each month. This Sunday, members and their families and prospective members are invited to the Fort Wise Pumpkin Patch at 2 p.m. at a discount price.

Throughout the year, YPL members are encouraged to turn in hours of community service they complete in order to keep a record of some of the impact the members have on the city.

Royalty crowned at FSHS Homecoming

During their homecoming event Friday evening, Fort Scott High School crowned the 2016 homecoming king and queen while the football team protected their field against the Coffeyville Golden Tornadoes.


Taylor Engstrom was named the homecoming king while Lauren Hurd was crowned the queen. Other king candidates included Noah Daly, Wyatt DeHaven, Grant Goldston and Mayson Lane. Queen candidates were Alex King, Taylor Krokroskia, Makayla Robertson and Karlee Stanley.

The Fort Scott Tigers then held on for a 35-20 victory over the Golden Tornadoes, scoring 16 points in the third quarter after trailing Coffeyville by one at halftime. A Tigers’ defense that had three interceptions and four sacks held the Tornadoes to just over 200 yards of offense while their own surpassed 400 yards.

The Tigers continue their season with a district game on the road against the Louisburg Wildcats Friday.

Mercy adds new aquatic therapy equipment

During a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday evening, Mercy Hospital offered demonstrations and information to visitors about the new HydroWorx 300 recently added to the hospital’s equipment available to patients and other members of the community.


“Aquatic therapy has been our goal and our target for a lot of years,” said Kirk Sharp of the hospital’s fitness center. “And it’s here.”

Tina Rockhold of public relations at Mercy said it took a long while to reach this point of purchasing the equipment, one of the only ones available in the state outside of those used by professional sports organizations. But with the funds raised in the community, the leadership of board members and the work from the hospital team, the goal became a reality.

Efforts to raise funds for the treadmill began with a golf tournament in June and continued with matching funds and other donation from the community.

The water treadmill provides aquatic therapy for those recovering from injuries as well as those suffering from arthritis and other ailments. It can also serve as an ideal way to exercise because of the added level of resistance in the water.

The treadmill, which cost about $140,000, includes features such as adjustable water depth, heated water, jet-propelled currents, deep-tissue massage hose and underwater video camera. The facilities include a changing room, shower and lockers.

While available first of all to patients and those needing the therapy, the treadmill can also be reserved for $1 a minute by Health for Life members and $1.50 each minute for non-members. Sharp said starting with just five minutes can provide and vigorous workout.

“What an awesome piece of equipment we have,” said Lindsay Madison, executive director of the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce.

Debate team continues to find success

For a second year in a row, the Fort Scott High School debate team took first place in the Pittsburg tournament over the weekend, not debating the final round since their only opponents were their fellow team mates.

Photo Credit: Tristan Watkins, Team Manager

“All five teams will share a co-championship,” coach Amber Toth explained. “These guys dropped one round to another team the entire weekend.”

Just as in a previous tournament, the Fort Scott students determined the winners based on earlier rounds and coin tosses so they would not have to debate against each other. The five teams and their results include:

  • Breana Mooney and Hunter Parker, undefeated but losing two rounds to coin tosses
  • Tayton Majors and Sara Al-Shawish, losing one round in the tournament and one coin toss
  • Darby Toth and Rebekah Sweyko, undefeated but losing one coin toss
  • Seth Cross and Zach Humble, undefeated but lost to own team based on speaker points
  • Isabella Provence and Joe Adams, undefeated and winning all coin tosses
  • Logan Hall and Darrick Green also competed and came away with a couple wins

The novice division teams also met with success:

  • Levi Bin and Mark Adams placed third with a 4-1 record
  • Alyssa Elliott and Conner Parker placed 5th with a 4-1 record
  • Madi Toth and Addisyn Guilfoyle finished with a 3-2 record
  • Jordan Willard and Aztreia Milton finished with a 3-2 record
  • Emma Faith Humble and Caleb Hopkins finished with a 3-2 record
  • Addie Smith and Jonie Antonio finished with a 2-3 record
  • Connor Mason and Carlee Studyvin finished with a 2-3 record
Photo Credit: Tristan Watkins, Team Manager
Photo Credit: Tristan Watkins, Team Manager


Fort Scott churches, residents hold Life Chain

A range of church denominations and others of the community took part in the annual Life Chain Sunday afternoon in order to show their support for the pro-life movement and their opposition to abortion.


“You need to be mindful, this is not a protest,” organizer Joe Barr said to the participants, encouraging them not to argue with drivers or others who might disagree with their stance on the issue. “We’re out there to stand for the unborn.”

Participants stood along Highway 69 through Fort Scott, holding signs about every 25-30 feet from National Avenue to 25th Street at Walmart. While not as many were involved in the event as the previous year, a significant number of people came to stand in the Life Chain for an hour.

Barr said in that one hour, an average of about 120 unborn children are aborted, while millions are aborted each year. Before the group formed the chain, Trevor Jacobs prayed that individuals considering abortion would instead consider the “alternative of love and life.”

The Fort Scott chapter of Kansans for Life and other members of the community organize the Life Chain in Fort Scott for the first Sunday in October each year. Barr said they are now looking for organizers to help plan for the 2017 event.

Fort hosts Naturalization Ceremony for new citizens

Ninety-three individuals took an oath in order to become United States citizens Friday morning during the annual United States District Court for the District of Kansas naturalization ceremony, hosted at the Fort Scott National Historic Site.


“Thank you for letting us share this special day with you,” Holly Baker, chief of interpretation and resource management at the fort, said to those becoming citizens and their families in attendance.

City Manager Dave Martin said the city of Fort Scott is both humbled and proud that the District Court of Kansas would again select the fort as the location for the special ceremony.

“You’re making a memory,” Martin said.

United States Magistrate Judge Teresa James said she considers it a tremendous honor to be able to participate in such ceremonies, saying it is one of her favorite aspects of her job. While she swears individuals in as citizens on a monthly basis in courthouses, James said she enjoys doing it yearly at the national historic site.

“There’s something very special about being here on these grounds,” James said.

The 93 individuals took an oath promising to renounce previous allegiance to any country and to now support and defend the constitution of the United States. Speaker Larry Nuss emphasized such rights as freedom of speech and others that the new citizens now have under that constitution.

Countries represented included Israel, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Germany, Bhutan, Columbia, Honduras, Mexico, the Peoples Republic of China, India, Ethiopia, Canada, Burma and a variety of others. The new citizens hold numerous positions in the United States such as with school districts, medical facilities, food services and as mechanics, managers, technicians, accountants as well as those who are retired and others who are college and high school students.

Debate team places first in competition

During their weekend competition, the Fort Scott High School debate team placed first at Pittsburg Colgan, facing each other as opponents in the final rounds.

Photo Credit: Amber Toth
Photo Credit: Amber Toth

“We were the last four undefeated in the tourney going into round 5,” coach Amber Toth said of the event end results. “So we were going to have to debate ourselves.”

Instead, Toth said the students decided to choose the winners based upon preliminary events and the flip of a coin in order not to debate against each other.

With that method, the results were as follows:

  • Dalton Womeldorff and Chloe Studyvin took first with a 5-0 record and 20 speaks.
  • Isabella Provence and Joe Adams took second with a 5-0 record and 21 speaks.
  • Rebekah Sweyko and Darby Toth took third with a 4-1 record and 18 speaks.
  • Seth Cross and Zach Humble took 4th with a 4-1 recordand 21 speaks.
  • Georgia Loyd Breana Mooney took 7th with a 3-2 record.

In novice:

  • Ashtyn Elizabeth Dowell and Madi Toth took first with a 5-0 record and 17 speaks.
  • Emma Faith Humble and Caleb Hopkins took second with a 5-0 record and 18 speaks.
  • Brooklyn Lyons and Elizabeth Ngatia took third with 4-1 record and 17 speaks
  • Addie Smith and Jonie Antonio took 6th with a 3-2 record and 24 speaks.
  • Conner Parker and Kaden Kiwan walked away with wins and amazing speaker points.

Tayton Majors and Tristan Watkins also participated in the weekend tournament as judges.


FSCC prepares for local events, fundraiser

FSCC To Honor Local First Responders

Fort Scott Community College will honor local first responders during its football game on Saturday, October 15, at Frary Field in Fort Scott.

9-25 FSCC

“We are grateful for everything these everyday heroes do to keep our community safe,” said Tom Havron, FSCC Director of Athletics. “FSCC is proud to recognize them during our First Responders Day.”

Emergency medical technicians, firefighters, police officers and other first responders will receive free admission to the game. In addition, several local first responders will serve as honorary captains of the football team for the evening.

The Fort Scott Community College Greyhounds will face the Dodge City Community College Conquistadors at 7 p.m. on October 15.


FSCC Rodeo to host the Dan VandeWynkel Alumni Rodeo

The Fort Scott Community College Rodeo Team will host the annual Dan VandeWynkel Alumni Rodeo 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 1, at the Arnold Arena, 2108 South Horton, Fort Scott.

During the rodeo, students will compete alongside FSCC alumni. Events will include bareback riding, barrel racing, breakaway roping, bull riding, calf roping, goat tying, saddle bronco riding, steer wrestling and team roping.

Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for FSCC students, $2 for children and $10 for families (two adults plus children). The team will also host an athlete auction at 6 p.m., where community members can bid on a few hours of labor from rodeo athletes.

All money raised will benefit rodeo student scholarships. For information, please call Chad Cross, FSCC Head Rodeo Coach, or Cali Griffin, FSCC Assistant Rodeo Coach, at 620-223-2700, ext. 7020.



Smith to leave city position, replacement announced

After serving the city as the director of economic development for more than three years, Heather Smith completes her final days in Fort Scott this week as she prepares to move on to another job in Wisconsin.

Photo Credit: Kenny Felt
Photo Credit: Kenny Felt

“It’ll be really difficult to leave here, but I’m excited for the next step in my career,” Smith said during the most recent Chamber Coffee held Thursday, saying the collaboration among the city, chamber of commerce and the local businesses made her job and the recent accomplishments in Fort Scott possible.

Smith first worked at Peerless for six years and then at UMB Bank as a manager for two years before the position with the city opened in 2013. Believing her background in both manufacturing and finances would assist her, Smith said she jumped right in.

“It was a little bit overwhelming at first, but a big part of being able to make progress is just jumping in and talking to people and doing research,” Smith said, saying she was comfortable in her position within the first year.

Smith said the revitalization of downtown Fort Scott has especially been an enjoyment for her on the job, seeing investments made in that area that she said she believes will be transformational, bringing energy back into the area.

“One of the top priorities is business retention and expansion,” Smith said, adding she and the city focused on working with local employers and assisting them in their projects and meeting their needs can be met so they can continue to grow. “We try to be very business friendly.”

In her more than three years at her position, Smith has taken a part in projects such as the Lowell Milken Center, the Western Building project, the LaRoche Baseball Complex, Country Place Living, Sleep Inn, Casey’s General Store and a variety of other additions, expansions and improvements made around the city, adding up to millions of dollars in investments.

“That’s pretty impressive for a community our size,” Smith said, pointing out the top ten employers have also seen a net job growth of 18 percent while the county minimum wage has increased by 20 percent. “All of these are signs that Fort Scott is on a really good trajectory and recovering quite well from the 2012 recession. It’s a good place to be.”

Smith said she is sure that momentum will continue with the continued work of the city leaders, saying she has seen them make many wise and forward-thinking decisions such as by hiring an IT director and working closely with other entities such as the school district.

“Thank you so much for being such a progressive and visionary commission to work with,” Smith said to the Fort Scott City Commission during her last meeting with them Tuesday. “It’s not an easy thing to leave. I love this community. It’s been a very difficult decision.”

The commission said Smith will be missed and even stated she is welcome back if she should decide to return.

“We want to thank you for everything that you have done for Fort Scott,” Mayor JoLynne Mitchell said.

City Manager Dave Martin pointed out Smith is not just appreciated among the city staff, but is also liked and respected in the community.

Smith will move to Wisconsin, where she will work at the Chippewa Valley Technical College, managing a $5 million grant from the department of labor for workforce development in a consortium of technical colleges.

“I love Fort Scott,” Smith said, saying she had not necessarily been looking for another job when this one became available. “Fort Scott is home. I love this community. It’s like a family.”

Rachel Pruitt, who is from Fort Scott, will begin working as the new director of economic development on October 10, and said she is looking forward to filling a position that has such worthwhile results for the city, after working in corporate marketing and commuting away from her home for her previous job.

“[They’re] big shoes to fill,” Pruitt said, but added she is hoping to get up to speed quickly without losing any of the forward momentum Smith initiated.

Smith said she believes Pruitt has the capacity to continue the collaboration between the city and businesses in order to continue the progress already made in Fort Scott.

Public Safety Facility to receive improvements

During their meeting Tuesday evening, the Fort Scott City Commission approved Fire Chief Paul Ballou’s request to put to bid improvements needing to be made at the Hawkins Public Safety Facility.


The building housing the fire and police departments as well as the dispatchers was built in 1993, and Ballou said few improvements have been made since that time.

“It just needs a refurb[ishment],” Ballou said. “Bring it back up to where it really looks nice.”

The project is to include tuck pointing of the mortar, repair and replacement of bad block – including the front sign, repainting and sealing around the bottom of the building and resealing or repair of the roof where it is needed. Ballou said water damage has lead to some of the need for repairs.

The entire project is expected to cost no more than $30,000, an amount already budgeted for in the capital improvements budget. Ballou said they have already approached contractors and others to look at the building for a price estimate.

While it is already later in the year, Ballou said they hope to put the project to bid quickly so work can begin before weather prevents it and so the building can provide better protection against the winter months.

Library to go through renovations

Over the next few months, the Fort Scott Public Library will take on a different appearance as it goes through numerous interior renovations before opening again in February.


After saving federal funding since about 1992 as well as accepting a $100,000 gift from Cliff Gordon’s estate after his death, the local library decided the time was right for major renovations on their building after having gone about 50 years without such improvements, according to director Lisa Walther.

“It’s been much needed for a long time,” Walther said.

The total bid for the project is about $572,000, plus an approximate $10,000 for asbestos abatement. That price will include removing the carpet and redoing the floors, ceiling and walls as well as adding other improvements such as new light fixtures and the addition of a second restroom.

“We’re changing pretty much everything,” Walther said, saying all the books will be moved upstairs while the offices, computers and an adult meeting area will be available downstairs.

Since the project began on September 6, the library has changed its location temporarily to the lower level of Memorial Hall. Walther said about 10 percent of their current circulation is available there while the remainder is in storage at Landmark Bank.

While their space is limited, Walther said they have made available their newest books as well as those that are most popular. The library also continues to offer its storytime for young children not in school each Tuesday at 10 a.m., and computers are still available for the public’s use.

“I think it’s going to be very nice when it’s done,” Walther said of the library project, adding their appreciation to Landmark and the city of Fort Scott for providing assistance while they are away from their building.

The project is scheduled to be complete by February 3, with the addition of a few weeks to move the books back into the library before opening once again.