Media Advisory: 2020 Kansas Health Champions to be Awarded
WICHITA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Governor’s Council on Fitness (GCOF) will recognize the 2020 Kansas Health Champions at a luncheon Thursday, January 30 at 11:30 a.m. in Wichita. The awards will be held at the Drury Inn and Suites, 400 W. Douglas Ave in room 132. All media are invited to attend. Award winners will be available for interviews in room 105 following the presentation’s conclusion, estimated to be at 12:45 p.m.
The Health Champion Award was developed by the Governor’s Council on Fitness to recognize and promote exemplary contributions to fitness in Kansas. This is the seventh year for these awards. Those recognized include an individual and organization, as well as honorable mentions in each category.
2020 winners include:
Individual Health Champion: Andy Fry, Topeka
Organizational Health Champion: Redemption Plus, Lenexa
Individual Honorable Mention: Jim Blackwell, Hoisington
Organizational Honorable Mention: West Bourbon Elementary School, Uniontown
Award winners will make brief remarks.
Presenters scheduled include Dr. Lee Norman, KDHE Secretary, GCOF Chair Miranda Steele and GCOF Awards Chair Candice McField.
Frontenac hosted the Southeast Kansas Music Educator’s Association Elementary Honor Choir on Saturday,
January 18, 2020.
Jason Sickel, 2017 Kansas Teacher of the Year, was the clinician for the 141-person choir.
Fifth-graders Lanie Jackson, Lillian Jackson, Jackson Montgomery, Icysis Reeder, Madi Davis, Karlee Hereford, Michaela Morrell, and Javon Steadman were nominated by Eugene Ware Elementary Music Educator MJ Harper to perform.
Students worked outside of class during the fall semester to prepare and memorize four pieces of music.
During the afternoon concert, Mary Jo Harper was awarded Outstanding Elementary Music Educator for Southeast Kansas Music Educators Association.
Fort Scott Tigers were back in the pool competing in Winfield last Thursday, January 16 and in Osawatomie last night, January 22.
Oliver Witt and Bobby Kemmerer continue to put up competitive times and race against the clock for a state-qualifying time.
In Osawatomie their 200 Free Relay made their laps count and earned a state-qualifying time of 1.38.61. However, since not all four members of the relay attend the same high school the time will not qualify them for state. At the state swim meet relays can only contain four members from the same high school. Since many high school teams co-op for boys swimming, it is not unusual for a relay to swim a qualifying time and not be able to compete in the state meet.
This relay consisted of Kemmerer and Witt from Fort Scott High School, Josh Slansky from Chanute High School and Anthony Pousher from Parsons High School.
The next meet will be at Blue Valley West next Thursday, January 30 at 4:00 p.m.
Results for Winfield Meet
Oliver Witt: 3rd in the 200 medley relay, 4th in the 200 free relay, Individual Medley 2nd in heat 8th overall, 6th in the 100 freestyle
Bobby Kemmerer: 3rd in the 200 medley relay, 4th in the 200 free relay, Individual Medley 1st in heat 6th overall (state consideration time), 5th 50 freestyle
Results Osawatomie Meet
Bobby Kemmerer & Oliver Witt: 200 Medley Relay 1st (state consideration time), 200 free relay (State Qualifying Time)
Bobby Kemmerer: 1st in the 50 Free (state consideration time), 2nd in the 100 Backstroke
Oliver Witt: 3rd in the 50 Free, 2nd in the 100 Butterfly (both races swam a best time)
The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce has been working to encourage entrepreneurship and matching skills to local employers’ needs in 2019, according to information provided during the Jan. 9 Chamber coffee.
Two new programs were added to the community this year: Bourbon County E-Community and Work Ready Community. The focus of the two is enhancing local economic development through entrepreneurship and workforce development.
Loans for Businesses Through Entrepreneur Community
Bourbon County E-Community provides access to funds, which are locally administered through the Chamber. These loans included start-up businesses as well as existing business purchases or expenses. The funds are accessed through NetWork Kansas, whose mission statement is to promote an entrepreneurial environment throughout the state that connects entrepreneurs and small business owners with expertise, education, and economic resources.
Those who have received these loans in Fort Scott from July 1 to Dec. 31:
Smallville Crossfit, an E-Community Loan of $40,000.
Luther’s BBQ, an E-Community Loan of $45,000.
Smallville Crossfit, a start-up loan of $25,000.
Lulther’s BBQ, a start-up loan of $30,000.
Margo’s LLC (a salon and spa), an E-Community Load of $39,000.
Other events in support of E-Community: a luncheon to educate on the loan program, an entrepreneur appreciation luncheon, a semi-monthly local newspaper ad promoting the loans, and planning for a Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, in partnership with Fort Scott High School (judging for the challenge will be March 11, 2020.)
Work Ready Community
Work Ready Community is a nation-wide program to aid matching people to a job that needs their skills and preparing people to have the skills that employers need.
Work Ready Communities is working at the grassroots level to make the country more competitive and closing the skills gap that threatens to paralyze the U.S. economy, according to its website. They do this by providing a community-based framework.
Bourbon County became a Work Ready Community in Sept. 2019.
A group of 10 people from Bourbon County, USD 234, USD235, Fort Scott Community College, the City of Uniontown and local employers attended a Work Ready Community Workshop in August 2019.
Kansas initiated an initiative for high school juniors to take the Work Keys test and earn certification. The certification is to improve hiring and employee retention, help provide employees who have the skills needed and help students attain success in landing a career.
To view the Chamber leadership this year,click below:
Members of the USD 234 Board of Education met on Monday, January 13, at the Board of Education office for their regular monthly meeting.
President David Stewart opened the meeting. The board approved the official agenda. The board also approved the consent agenda as follows:
Bills and Claims
Payroll – December 19, 2019 – $1,400,799.51
Bond Proceeds Reconciliation
Activity Fund Accounts
Gary Elliott, with Benchmark, Inc., gave a roof projects update to the board. Stephanie
George, KNEA President, presented a report.
Superintendent Ted Hessong welcomed the new board members and shared the following information:
January 6 professional development day activities
State Debate Tournament at Fort Scott High School and Fort Scott Middle School on January 17
Advocacy in Action, Greenbush Superintendent Forum, BOLD training, Council of Superintendents meetings
Gina Shelton, Business Manager, discussed roof bids.
Board members approved the following items:
Election of officers and meeting dates to take place at the July 2020 organizational board meeting
Employee Physical Activity policy
Board members shared comments and then went into executive session to discuss personnel matters for nonelected personnel and returned to open meeting. The board then went into executive session to discuss matters relating to employer-employee negotiations. The board returned to open meeting and approved the following employment items:
Retirement of Marge Madison, high school treasurer/secretary, effective June 30, 2020
Retirement of Vicki Kruger, middle school paraprofessional, effective January 7, 2020
Leave of absence request from Angela Christy, Winfield Scott paraprofessional
Employment of Tyler Bell as high school assistant wrestling coach for the 2019-20 school
THANK YOU to those businesses and individuals who have already committed to volunteering or donating items.
Please click here to emailDiana with times you can work or items you can donate. Monetary donations also welcome, made payable to the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce, and we can purchase items needed.
Physical items or monetary donations may be dropped off at the Chamber through 5 pm Thursday.
The Uniontown FFA Meat Evaluation team recently brought home 4th place honors at the National Western Roundup Meat Evaluation contest held in Fort Collins, Colorado. Uniontown earned the opportunity to represent the state of Kansas in the contest with their state runner-up finish this past May.
The contest consisted of placing classes, beef grading, retail identification, questions, meat formulation problems and a written exam. After completing all of the above on Saturday, January 11th on the campus of Colorado State University, the team ranked 3rd in Beef Grading, 4th in Placings, 6th in Retail Identification and 4th overall.
Clay Brillhart led the team individually with a 7th place finish overall. He also ranked 8th in the placing category and 8th in the retail identification division. Maddie Ard finished 17th overall, Braden Griffiths was 5th in Beef Grading and ranked 21st overall, and Logan Geiger ranked 24th in Retail Identification. The team is coached by Uniontown FFA Advisor Scott Sutton.
The Fort Scott High School Thespian Troupe #7365 attended the annual KS State Thespian Festival on Jan. 9-11 in Wichita.
Twenty-six students attended three days of theatre-related workshops, competitions, and performances accompanied by FSHS Thespian Director Angie Bin and FSHS English teacher Don Parsons.
The following students competed in Individual Events and received Superior Ratings qualifying them to compete at the International Thespian Festival in Indiana in June: Senior Mesa Jones and sophomore Jenna Stockstill qualified in Musical Solo and junior Ashanti (Bell) Green qualified in Monologue.
FSHS also once again received the Gold Honor Troupe Award, the highest honor given, for their performances, community involvement, and participation. Jones was recognized for serving this past year as a State Thespian Officer. She was one of five student officers from across the state elected to plan and facilitate this year’s festival.
Two FSHS seniors auditioned for all of the colleges in attendance. Wendy Monahan received call-backs from 15 colleges and Mackenzie Peoples was called back by 9 colleges.
Other students who competed in Individual Events included senior Dominic Cannon with junior Sage Hill and Monahan with junior Amber Russo in Duet Acting; and Peoples and sophomore Christina Ramirez in Musical Solo. All FSHS attendees also competed in Improvisational Acting, Speed Charades, Creative Costuming, or Theatre Quiz Bowl.
Bin taught workshops entitled “Unlocking the Mystery of Immersive Theatre” and “Let’s Play! Building Your Theatre Program Among Kids” throughout the weekend.
The FSHS spring theatre season kicks off with auditions for the play “Radium Girls” by D.W. Gregory on Jan. 13 and 14. Performances are at 7 p.m. on Feb. 27-29 in the FSHS Auditorium.
USD 235 staff have been working on the details of a mentoring program for the district’s students since August 2019.
On January 15, the school district will implement the program with training for mentors.
Mentors and mentees will meet during the student’s lunch period to eat and talk. There is a conference room available should the mentors/mentees want a little quieter space to talk.
Permission slips will be sent home with students for parents to agree to their child having a mentor.
“Once the forms come back signed, we will begin to match mentors with mentees, and the program will officially be up and running,” Meaghan Russell, one of the TeamMates USD 235 facilitators, said.
“We work with Michael McCambridge out of Greenbush (Education Service Center),” she said.
“We also have an advisory committee consisting of… Mike Reith (JH/HS principal), Vance Eden (elementary principal), Bret Howard (superintendent), Jeanne Camac (JH/, HS counselor), Marty DeWitt (Uniontown Baptist Church pastor), Chad Holt (banker), Sally Johnson (city clerk), Jeff Feagins (HS business teacher and pastor of Marmaton Church),” Russell said.
“The TeamMates Coordinators are out of Nebraska, and they will be here on January 15th to conduct the training,” she said.
The following is an interview with Russell:
What is the purpose of the program?
“The purpose of the program is to build interpersonal skills in our students by having them talk with an adult from the community at lunch once a week. This should not only help to build their communication skills, but also their confidence in talking with adults and having to get to know someone new.”
If one becomes a mentor, what are the expectations?
“Mentors must be 18 years of age, willing to provide three references, able to pass a background check, and willing to attend a one-time, two-hour training. After that, it just comes down to making the commitment to come and eat lunch with a student once a week. We are very much in need of mentors, so if you are someone that has a flexible lunchtime, and you could sit with a student for twenty to thirty minutes once a week, we would love to have you participate! Our students can easily keep you entertained as they are full of stories!”
Who is paying for the program?
“This year, the school has paid the initial fees to get this program started. That money covers the cost of the background checks, training, and all communication and support provided by the TeamMates coordinators and Greenbush.”
Initially, Third Through Fifth Grade
“The TeamMates program recommends third through twelfth grade have mentors and trying to get as many students matched as possible. This program is not intended for a certain demographic of students. Initially, the plan is to begin with third through fifth-grade students, but then add grades as the program grows and expands. Mentors will be matched with the same gender of students, and the matching will be based on interests and hobbies as much as possible. One of the aspects that makes this program special is that all communication between the student and the mentor is to be done through the school.”
Why start a mentoring program?
“When students leave our district, we want them to be as prepared as possible for what lies ahead for them. We may not know what they are going to face, but we do know that relationship will be a part of it. Any skills that they learn from talking with adults will definitely be beneficial to them in the long run. Also, from a social/emotional perspective, we want to ensure that all students have connections to people. Life has ups and downs, and it is nice to have a slightly larger circle of people to help listen to you in good times and in bad. The benefit of going through the TeamMates organization to start this program is that they have already completed the research to successfully implement this in different schools, and they are a great support system to help launch this here at USD 235.”
TeamMates Mentoring Program began in 1991 with the vision of the University of Nebraska Head Football Coach Tom Osborne and his wife Nancy. Osborne felt that the athletes in his program could make an impact on the middle school students, and twenty-two football players began meeting with middle school students in the Lincoln Public Schools. Of the 22 original mentees, 21 went on to graduate from high school while one left school early to pursue a successful Motocross career. Eighteen of the original mentees also obtained some form of post-secondary education.
The program has changed quite a bit since then. Now thousands of boys and girls across the Midwest are served, and mentors come from all walks of life. One thing, however, remains the same-mentors just have to be there. It’s that simple.
The proposed wind turbine project in southwest Bourbon County has long term consequences for the economy of the area.
Jayhawk Wind, the wind energy company proposing the project, is looking to use 28,000 acres of land in the county to produce electricity in the region, including Bourbon and Crawford counties.
The Jayhawk Wind project is being developed by Apex Clean Energy.
Apex Clean Energy develops, constructs, and operates utility-scale wind and solar power facilities across North America. Their team of more than 200 renewable energy experts uses a data-focused approach, according to its website. Apex Clean Energy, Inc. is located at 310 4th St. NE, Suite 300, Charlottesville, VA 22902
To see the Bourbon and Crawford County’s project analysis and a Jayhawk Wind press release which was published recently on FortScott.Biz, click below:
There is a local controversy building about the proposed wind energy project.
A meeting of opponents to Jayhawk Wind project is planned for Bourbon and Crawford county residents, according to a press release.
The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 9, at Rodeway Inn, Ft. Scott, Ks.
On the agenda will be the organization of a formal opposition group, assistance from successful opponents of previous wind farms, and a discussion of potential and political avenues to stop the Jayhawk development.
Dane Hicks and Kim Simons will be speaking, according to Anne Dare, one of the concerned citizens who will be attending.
The meeting is open to the public.
Anyone concerned about the impact on home values and damage to the community’s natural rural vista by the project is asked to attend.
Noise level and other issues have been questions the public has asked about the project.
Noise level is 50 dBa
Apex Clean Energy, says the noise is minimal.
“The majority of the sound produced from modern dynamic windmills will be limited to 50 decibels, quieter than a refrigerator as measured at a nearby house,” according to Helen Humphries, Public Engagement Manager for Apex Clean Energy, Inc.
To see community opinions on noise levels and other related issues at another wind farm site, view this Youtube from an Arkwright, NY wind turbine project controversy:
Some of the financial benefits go to landowners, schools and government entities, which are facing a decline in population and finances. The project will also provide some jobs: construction, operation, supply chain, and induced jobs.
“Construction jobs only last during the construction of the wind farm,” Dr. David Loomis, professor of economics at Illinois State University and co-founder of Center for Renewable Energy said in an interview with FortScott.Biz. Loomis is the author of the analysis. “Construction jobs last six months to a year, 318 jobs for the year (estimated). All estimates are full-time equivalency.”,
“Operational jobs…They last the life of the project,” Loomis said. “On-site wind turbine technicians, a site supervisor, some administrative support.”
“There will be supply chain jobs due to expenditures in the local economy…truck fuel, gravel, supplies, and other items.”
“The final category is induced jobs…spending, shopping, eating out, entertainment because of all other jobs created because people have more money to spend for that,” Loomis said.
“Induced long term jobs include landowners leasing their land, tax revenue going into the local economy, schools, county, so forth,” Loomis said.
Rural areas are hard hit economically.
“The agriculture sector has been hit hard over the last two cycles,” he said. “2005 was a great time to be on a corn or soybean farm, but they’ve gotten squeezed because of the rising costs of equipment and fertilization. Oversupply caused a downturn.”
“Rural economies are hurting, individual farms are feeling this punch. This lease payment will take little land out of production but can help stabilize family farms. It’s a fixed payment to them.”
Currently, Jayhawk Wind is leasing land from landowners in the area of southwest Bourbon County and northwest Crawford County, Humphries said.
School District Benefits
“There is no revenue until 2032 due to the property tax exemption.,” Loomis notes in the analysis reports. “Starting in 2032, USD 235 will receive over $161 thousand annually for the general fund, over $225 thousand for the ‘Other’ Fund which totals to over $2.4 million and over $3.3 million respectively.”
Renewable energy facilities are exempt from property taxes for 10-12 years.
“Kansas recently changed the way that it taxes wind energy projects,” according to Humphries.” Before 2016, renewable energy generating facilities such as wind farms were exempt from property taxes according to K.S.A. 79-201. Since 2016, renewable energy generators are exempt from property taxes for only twelve years if owned by an independent power producer and ten years if constructed by a regulated public utility per K.S.A. 79-259. After this exemption period, the wind energy project will pay property taxes to all the taxing jurisdictions.”
Bourbon County Government Benefits
“Typically, wind developers in Kansas enter into a contribution agreement to voluntarily support the county during the 10 or 12 year exemption period, as we expect Jayhawk Wind to do,” Humphries said. “Once the initial 10 or 12 year period as defined by state law concludes, the wind power project will increase the property tax base and create a new revenue source for education and other local government services, such as road maintenance, libraries, and cemeteries.”
To see other views on the school and local government issues, click below:
Study Quantifies Economic Opportunity for Bourbon and Crawford Counties if Jayhawk Wind Farm Is Constructed
According to a new economic impact analysis, Bourbon and Crawford Counties will gain an estimated $27.2 million total in new revenues over the first 25 years of the Jayhawk Wind project, if it is constructed.
Apex Clean Energy, the company developing Jayhawk Wind, estimates that, if built, about 80% of the project’s turbines will be located in Bourbon County, generating $11.4 million in new revenues for that jurisdiction. Crawford County would host the remaining 20% and receive $3.9 million.
Moreover, the project is expected to create about 318 jobs in the Bourbon County and Crawford County region, generating about $15.7 million in new earnings for local workers during construction.
Once the project is operational, it will create as many as 30 new, long-term local jobs. These new long-term jobs will result in earnings of about $1.2 million annually, once the wind farm is operational.
About seven of these jobs will be direct hires of the wind farm, while the remaining jobs will be generated by local businesses that grow as a result of Jayhawk Wind’s operation.
New tax revenues from the project will also benefit local education.
Beginning in 2032 and through 2046:
• Uniontown Unified School District (USD) 235 will receive over $387,000 annually, totaling $5.8 million;
• Girard USD 248 will receive $203,000 annually, totaling over $3 million;
• Erie USD 101 will receive $38,000 annually, totaling over $572,000; and
• Fort Scott Community College will receive $256,000 annually, totaling over $3.8 million.
Existing local businesses will win too. The $250 million investment that Jayhawk Wind represents will benefit a wide array of area businesses, including hotels, restaurants, professional service firms, and construction supply companies.
Bourbon and Crawford Counties alone will see over $36.2 million in new economic output during construction.
“Wind farms create numerous economic benefits that continue to last for decades,” said Dr. David Loomis, Illinois State University professor of economics and co-founder of the Center for Renewable Energy, who conducted the analysis.
The U.S. wind industry has grown at a rapid pace since 2006, due in part to new, efficient technologies and demand by corporate buyers increasing demand for wind energy.
Starbucks, Wal-Mart, and General Motors are among the corporations purchasing wind energy produced
from Illinois wind farms.
“Demand for wind energy continues to grow due to low, long-term, stable pricing, which protects against future price volatility,” said Dr. Loomis. “In recent years, investment in wind energy
development has only been slowed by uncertain government policies.”
“Apex Clean Energy is proud to be a part of an industry bringing economic opportunity to rural America, which has not always benefited equally from our nation’s recent economic growth,”
said Jade Scheele, Apex Clean Energy senior development manager.
A copy of the Jayhawk Economic Impact Analysis can be found at www.jayhawkwind.com.
Dr. David G. Loomis is professor of economics at Illinois State University and co-founder of the Center for Renewable Energy. He has over 10 years of experience in the renewable energy field and has performed economic analyses at the county, region, state, and national levels for utility-scale wind and solar generation. Dr. Loomis is a widely recognized expert and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine, the Associated Press, and the Chicago
Tribune and has appeared on CNN. Dr. Loomis has published over 25 peer-reviewed articles in leading energy policy and economics journals. Dr. Loomis received his PhD in economics from
Temple University in 1995.
About Apex Clean Energy
Apex Clean Energy develops, constructs, and operates utility-scale wind and solar power facilities across North America. Our mission-driven team of more than 200 renewable energy experts uses a data-focused approach and an unrivaled portfolio of projects to create solutions for the world’s most innovative and forward-thinking customers.
For more information on how Apex is leading the transition to a clean energy future, visit apexcleanenergy.com.