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KState Extension Office: Tips to Keep Your Home Cool

Submitted by: Carla Nemecek, Southwind Extension District Agriculture Agent
With summer temperatures on the rise, now is the time to look for alternatives to save a few dollars while trying to cool the home. K-State Research and Extension offers the following advice:


Can ceiling fans effectively reduce air-conditioning costs?
Any type of fan can be effective in reducing air-conditioning costs if the air movement helps occupants feel comfortable and results in increasing the thermostat temperature setting. If the air conditioning thermostat setting is not increased, there are no savings. The cooling effect of moving air can compensate for as much as a four-degree rise in temperature. Keep in mind, that during the heating season, the air movement caused by the fan will still have the same cooling effect.
How can I keep my home cooler in the summer without air conditioning?
The simplest, least expensive method to keep a home cool is shading walls, windows, and the roof. Interior shades are inexpensive and easy to install. Use pull-down or Venetian blinds in addition to regular window coverings. Window coverings should be light colored (white or beige). There are several ways to keep a home cool without overusing the air conditioner. Of these options, install shades first. Compare utility bills before and after the installation of shades. If satisfied with the savings, stop there, but if savings are not significant, look into other options. One option to consider is exterior awnings. They are more expensive than interior shades, but would be a great way to shade south windows. Natural shading is another way to block heat gain in summer. For example, plant broad-leafed trees on the south and west sides of the home. They shade a home in summer months and will let in sunlight during winter months when they have shed their leaves. Certain steps will help keep a home warm in winter and will help cool it during the summer. Insulated walls and roof reduce heat gain, just as they lower heat loss in winter. As a general rule, ceiling insulation should have an R-value of 35 to 45, and walls from 19 to 27. A light-colored roof also decreases heat gain. Use the above suggestions, coupled with circulating fans inside the home, and utility bills will be less than if air conditioning was the only cooling source.
Is it better to leave the fan running continuously with the air conditioner or to place it in the automatic position?
It is more efficient to leave the thermostat in the automatic position. The fan consumes only one-tenth the energy of the compressor, but when it runs continuously, the fan can cost up to $30 a month. This amount can be reduced by cycling the fan only when it’s needed. Additionally, the air conditioner will dehumidify the air only when the compressor is running. However, if the fan remains on after the compressor cycles off, some moisture on the coil will re-evaporate. This moisture must be removed during the next compressor cycle, which increases the energy consumption.
If air distribution is poor within the home or business and hot spots or very cold areas result, the fan can be run to even out the temperatures.  However, the fan should be set to the auto position when the building is unoccupied. Even better, shut the air conditioner off or raise the thermostat setting when leaving the building.
Will I save energy by turning off my air conditioner when I leave home, or am I better off just letting it run?

If gone for four hours or more, more energy will be saved by turning off the air conditioner or turning up the thermostat. During the day, keep windows shut and close curtains or blinds on any windows that will be exposed to sunlight. The thermal mass of the house will probably keep the indoor temperature well below the outdoor temperature, and the house should cool quickly when the air conditioner is restarted. Use a programmable thermostat or timer to turn on the air conditioner 30 to 45 minutes before the expected arrival home. If the home is still warm upon arrival, turn on a fan to create air movement.  Moving air can make the air feel about four degrees cooler than it really is.
For more information about energy savings, visit K-State Research and Extension on the web, www.ksre.ksu.edu

County Receives Budget Requests

Over the past month, the Bourbon County Commission has accepted budget requests from a variety of departments as they prepare for their upcoming budget deadline.

The commission continues to try to be frugal with the county funds as they face expenses such as roads and bridges in need of repairs, vehicles and equipment in need of replacement, as well as the need to offer employees competitive salaries and benefits in order to encourage them to stay.

Already, a work session has been held by the commission to look over the budget requests and the budget process. A few requests including that from the Sheriff’s Department and the Attorney have not yet been received.

See below for the departments and their budget requests for 2018 and the amount they were given for the 2017 budget year, as provided by County Clerk Kendell Mason.

Department                                       2018 Request                 2017 Approved

Appraiser                                             $279,761                                  $268,162

Bridge and Culvert                         $204,129                                  $214,129

Clerk                                                       $96,760                                      $98,462

District Court                                    $247,293                                  $242,293

Election                                               $86,900                                       $86,900

Elm Creek                                           $27,031                                      $26,931

Emergency Management            $61,439                                    $66,464

Emergency Management Grant    $17,500                              $17,000

Information Technology                  $187,503                              $173,288

Landfill                                                      $302,580                                $238,749

Noxious Weed                                    $151,528                                 $151,528

Register of Deeds                               $90,450                                   $90,550

Road and Bridge                                 $2,003,688                             $2,003,688

Road and Bridge Sales Tax            $1,008,124                            $1,064,894

Special Bridge                                     $20,585                                       $20,585

Special Bridge Improvement Fund    $364,318                         ———–

Treasurer                                             $106,750                                     $106,062

LaRoche: Fighting the Enemy

Dave hasn’t smiled this much since his first child was born.

The gun he ordered from Amazon arrived a few minutes ago. He is sitting on the edge of our living room couch admiring it a few inches at a time, fawning at his “shoot-‘em- up” possibilities.

“Wanna look at it?” he asks.

“I think I am,” I respond.

“It looks real, don’t you think?”

“I figured it was,” I answer.

“Well, it’s a pellet gun.”

“Aha,” I say, knowing it could be a machine gun and I wouldn’t know the difference.

“It’s to kill.”

Hopefully not me, I say silently. Aloud, I repeat, “Aha.”

There is no point in discussing this any further with my husband. He is talking to himself as he reads the directions to attach his “scope” and “bi-pod.”

I watch as he points his weapon at the television and then continues his personal conversation: “This isn’t going to work.” He feels a need to explain. “See these legs? They get out of the way to put it into a scabbard.” Piece by piece, Dave describes every component of his new treasure. I feign interest.

“They put straps on it so when I’m belly-crawling to get to the animals they won’t see me. I’ll have to wait until the wind is right so they can’t smell me.”

Apparently Rambo (aka my husband) isn’t satisfied with the varmint repellent I recently purchased and is declaring war on whatever mammal is using our dock as his/her porta-potty.

“Look out, animals!” he says, (Yes, he says that!) as he finds a hidden compartment under the gun’s belly for the Allen wrenches which come with his weapon. Something tells me I might need to sleep elsewhere tonight. My husband’s new “baby” will be taking my place in bed.

Dave is going to great lengths to rid our property of pests. He has hired someone to net the underside of our dock roof so birds cannot nest in the rafters and mess in our boat. After one of our son’s visiting Wounded Warrior soldiers developed Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever because of a tick bite—and then Dave found one on his back—a landscaper was paid to spray our yard. Hours of research have gone into the best ways to get rid of annoying creatures, and when a young couple we know recently had to abandon their rental home because of bed bugs, Dave’s intentions were reinforced.

As disgusting as I find these destructive varmints, there are others that deserve even more attention. John 10:10 warns us about one in particular. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. Satan prowls the world to find those who take no precautions against his methods. One can read the book of Exodus to realize that impatience, complaining and anger are the invasive species in the Israelites’ march to the Promised Land that prevent them from getting there. Perhaps those aren’t the sins with which you or I wrestle, but like every sin that has the potential to proliferate and destroy, we need to be armed against sin’s danger and ready to do battle against its threat.

“Mess with the bull, you’ll get the horn.” And with those words, Dave extends his gun’s legs, positions it on the floor and aims it at the front door.

Now if that won’t prevent unwanted pests from entering, I don’t know what will.

If only it were that easy to get rid of sin.

Secret Garden Tour Puts Private Gardens on Display

The Bourbon County Garden Club continues their tradition of hosting the Secret Garden Tour Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., as four Fort Scott residents open their yards for the viewing of their elaborate gardens.

The event first began in 1998 with Martha Scott and Pat Lyons organizing the tours, which were handed over to the leadership of the garden club in 2001.

“They wanted a unique way to get people to come to Fort Scott,” Garden Club President Judy Wallis said.

This year’s tours include four homes as well as the community garden on Horton Street and the Vineda de Alamo vineyard owned by Bobby and Denise Duncan. A variety of themes will be on display, including shade, vegetable, old-fashioned, courtyard and country gardens.

Wallis, speaking during Thursday morning’s Chamber Coffee, said the event is a great opportunity to view the gardens usually hidden on private property. She said it also allows visitors to learn about different plants and get ideas for their own landscaping.

Tickets for the event can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce building and Country Cupboard for $10. Participants can visit the locations on their own time within the hours of the tour.

The Garden Club also participates in planting and maintaining the hanging flowers and other garden areas located in downtown Fort Scott. The group meets every fourth Thursday evening and invites visitor interested in learning more.

Maria’s Restaurant Opens for Business

After being empty for some time, the restaurant connected to Fort Scott Inn is again open for business with Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the grand opening of Maria’s Restaurant.

“Congratulations on your opening today,” said Lindsay Madison, executive director of the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce.

Owner and chef Andy Bravo invested in the restaurant with his wife, saying he named the restaurant after his mother and grandmother.

Supervisor Reuben Curls said he has been learning the menu from Bravo and encourages the community to come try the restaurant, even as they continue to grow accustomed to their positions and menu options.

“The new menu we’ve got is really intense,” Curls said of their selection of homemade items. “It’s beautiful presentation.”

The restaurant is open through breakfast, lunch and dinner, including a variety of all-American food such as biscuits and gravy, steak and eggs, omelets, waffles, a variety of crepes, pastas, salads, sandwiches, seafood, steaks and a number of items with a Mexican theme.

“Welcome to the Fort Scott Inn family,” said Fort Scott Inn owner Alex Desai, adding he has seen Bravo invest a lot of time and finances in the business and looks forward to what that hard work will bring.

“I know he’s in it for the long run,” Desai said.

The menus and further information can be found at the Maria’s Restaurant Facebook page here.