Tag Archives: featured

Fort Scott Preschool To Expand

The Fort Scott Preschool, at 409 S. Judson.

USD 234 is making preschool for students a priority, according to Nicki Traul, director of curriculum.

“We are very fortunate that students have many opportunities for preschool in Fort Scott,” she said.  “This initiative isn’t to compete with those other preschools.”

Many kindergarten students have not had any early childhood opportunities, Traul said.

“Our expansion is so that we can find those students and get them in a program,” she said. ” The district wants to see that every USD 234 child gets at least one year of preschool prior to starting kindergarten.  We need all the preschools in town to be able to do that.”

Traul is attempting to contact all preschool providers in town to establish an early childhood professional learning community.

“It helps us as a district to work with the other preschools,” she said.  “Why wouldn’t we want to help each other? ”

In an effort to collaborate with other Fort Scott preschools,  Traul has organized a meeting.

Invitations will be sent to area preschools for representatives to meet at 1 p.m. on April 12 in the Fort Scott Middle School Community Room.

Sandy Ellsworth, Greenbush Early Childhood Department, will facilitate the meeting.

The community is welcome to attend.

“We are excited at the opportunity to work with others in our community and the good that will come from that,” Traul said.  “Our students need to be our focus and our priority, as a community we need to support early childhood and help each other.”

The USD 234 preschool is located at 409 S. Judson, in back of the former middle school.

Traul said the USD 234 plan is to carve out classrooms from an existing gym at the preschool.

The gym is partially used for the cafeteria and storage currently.

Nicki Traul, USD 234 Director of Curriculum, tells about the expansion project of the Fort Scott Preschool in the pre-school gym, where the new classrooms will be located.
The Fort Scott Preschool gym is currently partially used for storage as well as the cafeteria.

Middle School Flex Room Has Many Benefits

Fort Scott Middle School Principal Brian Weilert welcomes guests of the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce weekly coffee to the school Thursday morning.

Fort Scott Middle School Principal Brian Weilert spoke to the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Weekly Coffee social Thursday at the school.

An important purpose of the building is safety during tornados.

“We can fit 650 people in this space,” Weilert said. “We can get the student body in here in four minutes.”

The building was constructed of concrete with minimal windows for student safety.

But the school uses what is referred to as “flex space”, for other purposes, Weilert said. “There is a community space, an art gallery, and breakout rooms.”

The brightly painted and colorfully decorated large building can be divided easily for different purposes. It is located on the south side of the school

“This space encourages creativity and it’s good to get out of class once in a while, to change environments,” Weilert said.

The newly constructed space was added to the school in 2017 as part of a district-wide building improvement project.

USD 234 Business Manager Gina Shelton shows the community room that is available for organizations in the community to use. The room is located in the high wind building, completed in 2017 and has innovative technology.

Pictured below are members of the community who congregated in small groups before the announcement segment of the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Weekly Coffee.

During the coffee event, members can tell about upcoming community events or organizations for a $1 donation, which goes to fund the town trolley car.

At the conclusion of the weekly coffee, the host organization/business/school/church gets a platform to tell about the events or projects that are currently happening.

This is the dedication plaque that was placed in the community room of the new high wind building, completed in 2017.

Bourbon County 4-H Fair, A United Way Agency

FortScott.Biz is doing a series on the agencies that receive funding through United Way of Bourbon County.

The following is an interview with Diane Brillhart, treasurer of Bourbon County 4-H Fair.

Who is the contact person along with phone number?

Dale Griffiths – 620-215-3101

What service do you provide to our community?

“We provide a venue and structure for holding the annual county fair.  The County Fair is a place for our local kids to exhibit the projects they have been working on and teach others about things they have learned.  Our venue is also available for others in the community to hold events and activities.”

How many people are served?

“Everyone in the community can benefit from our facility.”

What percentage of your budget is the United Way Grant?

“Five percent.”

Who are the board members?

President Dale Griffiths, Vice-Pres. Mark Crystal,                                        Secretary  Lynda Foster, Assist. Secretary David Foster,                     Treasurer  Diane Brillhart, Assist. Treasurer Mark Brillhart, Merchant Superintendent Allen Warren,  Grandstand Superintendent  Stewart Gulager and Assistant Grandstand Superintendent Mark Leatherman.

United Way is primarily funded through donations from local businesses when employees agree to donate an amount through payroll deductions.

Gina Shelton, president of United Way of Bourbon County said the cost of a purchased soft drink, one dollar if it was payroll deducted by many people, would help the agency meet its 2018 Campaign goal of $50,000.



SEKRS, Respite For Caregivers

Southeast Kansas Respite Services worker Kathy Ogle visits with a client.

FortScott.Biz is providing a series featuring each  United Way of Bourbon County agency in the coming weeks.

United Way is primarily funded through donations from local businesses when employees agree to donate an amount through payroll deductions.

Gina Shelton, president of United Way of Bourbon County said the cost of a purchased soft drink, one dollar if it was payroll deducted by many people, would help the agency meet its 2018 Campaign goal of $50,000.

Diane Salyers is the contact for Southeast Kansas Respite Services (SEKRS) and she provided the answers in the following interview with fortscott.biz. She can be reached at      dsalyers@ku.edu

What service do you provide Bourbon County residents?

“SEKRS was organized to give parents/ family caregivers a rest or break from the constant care that is often required by a child, adult family member, or senior with special needs.  It is very difficult to find persons willing to assume the added responsibility of caring for someone with special needs. SEKRS hires individuals to go into the home and stay with the individual with special needs so the family caregiver can get away.”

“Our goal is to strengthen families and keep them together by giving them a break from the constant care and added stress families of individuals with special needs face on a daily basis.   Family caregivers need to know their loved ones are being cared for by skilled and competent caregivers. SEKRS provides that care.”

What are your service hours?

“Our office hours are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, but our services can be at any time, including nights and weekends.”

What is your local address?

“We are located t 2601 Gabriel, Parsons KS 67357 and we cover the nine counties of Southeast Kansas.”

What percentage of your budget is the United Way grant?

“We requested $500 which is 10 percent of our budget.”

Who are your board members?

SEKRS Board of Directors  2017-2018

Scott Thompson -Chairperson

Director CLASS LTD

PO Box 266

Columbus, KS  66725


Tim Cunningham

Director Tri-Valley Developmental Services

PO Box 518

Chanute, KS  66720


Mike Dixon Acting Superintendent, Parsons State Hospital and Training

PO Box 738

Parsons, KS   67357


Matt Atteberry-Secretary

Director Labette Center for Mental Health Services

PO Box 258

Parsons, KS   67357


Dave Lindeman-Treasurer

Director University of Kansas Life Span at Parsons

PO Box 738

Parsons, KS  67357


Cindy Lane

Director Area Agency on Aging

PO Box J

Chanute, KS  66720



Riverfront Park Pavilion Nearly Ready For The Public

Schenkel Construction workers constructed the pavilion at Riverfront Park starting in fall 2017. It is nearly complete.

Riverfront Park Pavilion is almost ready for public use.

“We have to plant grass and landscape,” Jerry Witt, chairman of the Fort Scott Bourbon County Riverfront Authority (FSBCRA), said.

The FSBCRA envisions the pavilion will be used for family gatherings or public concerts or meetings, according to  Witt.

There will be a grand opening this spring for the pavilion.

“We’re gearing towards a ribbon cutting following a Chamber of Commerce Coffee on May 17 at 8:45 a.m.,” Witt said.

“That evening at 6 p.m. there will be hot dogs, watermelon, and desserts,” he said. “Then a free country music concert at 6:30 p.m. Jason Richison, Kinley Rice and Rick Cook and the Seminole Band will be here.”

The $38,000 pavilion was funded by a matching grant where  80 percent was provided by a Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks grant, and the FSBCRA paying 20 percent through local fundraising, Witt said.

Schenkel Contracting, Fort Scott,  constructed the building purchased from Lester Building Systems of Minnesota, starting in early fall.

The 30 by 50 by 12-foot wooden frame, with commercial scissor trusses,  a steel roof and gable ends, has electricity and lights.

The pavilion is located east of the parking area just inside Riverfront Park in the Belltown Trail area, north of the Marmaton River.

The next project of the FSBCRA is an overlook structure, Witt said.

Members of Fort Scott Bourbon County Riverfront Authority discuss updates on construction projects at Riverfront Park at the Carriage House in September. Clockwise from left: Danny Magee, Bob Love, Allen Warren, Jerry Witt and Jeff Sweetser. Not pictured are Betty Boyko, Dean Mann, Arnold Scholfield, Penny Barnes and Dave Martin and Brian Leaders, who are ex-officio members.

“We will be building an overlook at the convergence of  Mill Creek and the Marmaton River,” Witt said. “It will be a five-sided structure with some seating. It’s for educational and recreational purposes.”

Each side of the overlook will be 14 feet and it will be 24 feet across.

There will be a 40 foot American Disabilities Act compliant boardwalk leading to the overlook.

“The Westar Green Team is supplying the lumber and milling, the Riverfront Authority will supply labor,” Witt said.

Construction will begin in late spring or early summer, he said, with the contractor to yet be determined.

The FSBCRA is getting preliminary costs for possible lighting options in the park, Witt said.

In addition, the board is submitting a grant application for playground equipment, he said.

“It will be rustic logs and nature-type things for the kids,” Witt said.

The FSBCRA is regrouping for a historic bridge relocation to the park.

“We are looking at further grants,” Witt said. “We rejected the low bid because it was higher than the engineer thought it should be. The engineer thought it should $750,000, the low bid was $1.2 million, so we are starting over.”

The FSBCRA meets monthly.

For more information, contact Witt at 620-215-4817.

For a previous story on the FSBCRA, click here:

Riverfront Park Pavilion Work Has Begun

Riverfront Park Pavillion Coming Spring 2018


New Arby’s Coming To Fort Scott

The old Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant will be remodeled to make way for a new Arby’s Restaurant.

U.S. Beef Corporation, Tulsa, OK has purchased the old Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant at 2101 S. Main to be transformed into an Arby’s Restaurant.

The restaurant is scheduled to be opened in late summer, 2018, according to Rachel Pruitt, Fort Scott Economic Director.

U.S. Beef Corporation is a franchisee of Arby’s Restaurant.

They are currently searching for a manager for the restaurant.

Check out this link to apply:


Or view the City of Fort Scott Facebook page.

Signs, Signs Everywhere Signs

New kiosks have two maps—one of the City of Fort Scott trails locations and one of the specific map of the trail at the location. Pictured is the Bell Town Trail kiosk at Riverfront Park.

Area parks have had some improvements over the winter, with the placement of wayfaring signs.

There are nine signs total: Ellis Park Trail, Bell Town Trail, Riverfront Loop Trail, Fort Scott Community College Trail, three (including a new trail) at Gunn Park, Uniontown Trail, and the future Industrial Park Trail, according to  Jody Hoener, chair of the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team, that is coordinating the project.

Ellis Park Trail on Twelfth Street and Bell Town Trail in Riverfront Park have completed kiosks.

The next signs to go up will be the Riverfront Loop Trail and the Fort Scott Community College Trail.

It’s been a collaborative effort.

The Wayfinding Signs and Kiosks Project is funded by an American Planning Association-Kansas Chapter and Blue Cross Blue Shield Pathways to Healthy Kansas Grant.

Fort Scott High School carpentry classes have constructed the kiosks.

Trail maps were designed by Simon Ballou. Darren Crays, Designing Edge Graphics, is printing and installing the maps.

The City of Fort Scott is providing the installation of the kiosks.

Wayfinding signs and kiosks are part of creating a system of non-motorized transportation in the area, according to Hoener.  Ensuring consistent signage design and graphics across all signs is best practice to make trails easily identifiable, she said.

The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team consists of Jerry Witt (Fort Scott Bourbon County Riverfront Authority), Frank Halsey (Gunn Park Trails Volunteers), Lindsay Madison (Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce), Todd Farrell (City of Fort Scott) and Jody Hoener ((Mercy Hospital).