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.

Kansas State: Annual Flowers – Tips for More Profuse Blooming

Submitted by Krista Harding

Just like last year, we have been gotten a lot of rain this spring. Our soils were definitely saturated for several weeks. You may think that watering won’t be needed for quite some time since soil moisture levels are very high. However, watering may be needed much sooner than you think.

Excessive rain can drive oxygen out of the soil and literally drown roots. Therefore, as we enter hotter, drier weather, the plants with damaged root systems may be very susceptible to lack of water. Don’t forget to check your plants for signs of wilting or leaf scorching and water as needed.

My annual flowers haven’t been overly impressive yet. I know as our temperatures warm, they will pick up blooming speed. To keep the blooms going, a nitrogen fertilizer application and removing spent flowers is a must. An application of fertilizer is especially needed this year considering the amount of rain we have gotten recently.

Modern annual flowers have been bred to flower early and over a long period of time. Providing nitrogen through the growing season (sidedressing) can help maintain flower display. A high nitrogen sidedressing should be applied four to six weeks after flowers have been set out. Additional fertilizers every four to six weeks are also helpful during a rainy summer or if flower beds are irrigated. Common sources of nitrogen-only fertilizers include nitrate of soda, urea and ammonium sulfate. Use only one of the listed fertilizers and apply at the rate given:

Nitrate of soda (16-0- 0) – Apply ¾ pound fertilizer per 100 square feet

Urea (46-0- 0) – Apply ¼ pound fertilizer per 100 square feet

Ammonium sulfate (21-0- 0) – Apply ½ pound fertilizer per 100 square feet

If you cannot find the above materials, you can use a lawn fertilizer that is about 30 percent nitrogen (nitrogen is the first number in the set of three) and apply it at the rate of 1/3 pound per 100 square feet. Do not use a fertilizer that contains a weed killer or a weed preventer.

Removing spent flowers or “deadheading” will help some plants bloom more profusely. Annuals focus their energy on seed production to insure that the species survives. If old flowers are removed, the energy normally used to produce seed is now available to produce more flowers. Deadheading is as easy as pinching the plant between the thumb and finger, but tough, wiry stems will require the use of scissors or pruning shears.

Plants that do increase blooms in response to deadheading include: hardy geraniums, coreopsis, some petunias, marigolds, snapdragons, begonias, some roses, zinnias, sweet peas, salvia, blanket flower and yarrow.

There are some “self-cleaning” plants on the market now. These plants drop their spent flowers and bloom again and do not require manual deadheading. In many cases they are sterile varieties – bred not to produce seeds. The petunia and rose varieties that are “self-cleaning” continue to excel in the home garden market because of their low maintenance and blooming power.

If you need help with any horticulture topic, give me a call. My current office schedule is Monday, Wednesday, Friday – Erie; Tuesday – Iola; and Thursday – Fort Scott.

Krista Harding is a K-State Research and Extension Agricultural agent assigned to Southwind District. She may be reached at 620-244- 3826 or

Fun Day of Art Activities to be Held at Fort Scott NHS

Submitted by Fort Scott National Historic Site

Fort Scott National Historic Site is excited to announce the first-ever Art Day at the Fort. Come to the Old Fort on Saturday, June 17, for a fun-filled day of art and activities. Free art supplies will be available for adults and kids of all ages to try their hand at sketching, painting or coloring their own souvenir. The talented art students of Fort Scott High School will be on hand to answer questions and offer advice or assistance to participants. The event will take place 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. This event is part of the year-long celebration of the site’s 175th Anniversary and is presented in partnership with the Bourbon County Arts Council.

Fort Art Day: photo credit Fort Scott NHS

Everyone is invited to come out, even if it is just to observe artists in action. Professional artists will be painting and drawing around the beautiful historic Fort grounds. For those that want to get in on the action and depict the Fort through their own eyes, there are many subjects to choose from including the historic buildings, hundreds of colorful wildflowers in the tallgrass prairie, magnificent shade trees on the parade ground, and great views of historic downtown. Watercolor paints, coloring pencils, pastels and other supplies will be available for use. Folks can sketch a postcard that will be mailed home following the event, add their own creative take to a group mural, or try a new medium like pastels or watercolors. For the young ones there will be coloring pages, washable markers, big crayons for little hands and a collage activity.

The event is free and no pre-registration is required. Just drop by the Fort anytime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. For more information contact Fort Scott NHS at 620-223- 0310.

Obituary: Jerry Lee Russell

Jerry Lee Russell, resident of Marionville, Mo., died early Friday, June 9, 2017, at Cox Medical South in Springfield, Mo.

He was born on March 23, 1940, in Natoma, Kan., the son of James and Ruth Selbe Russell. He drove a truck for most of his adult life. He also worked for the Bourbon County Sheriff’s Department for more than nine years. He married Linda Richardson on August 26, 1993, in Fort Scott, Kan. Jerry enjoyed fishing, line dancing, classic cars, playing guitar and his chickens and dogs. He was a great cook who made delicious lasagna. He was known to joke around now and then. He loved his family and was always ready to lend a helping hand when needed.

Survivors include his wife Linda of the home; nine sons, Steven King and Tina, Kansas City, Kan., Mark King and wife Jamie, Kansas City, Kan., Frank Russell, MS, Greg Russell, Lansing, Kan., Todd Russell and wife Michelle, Topeka, Kan., Shawn Shockley and wife Lori, Traverse City, Mich., John Saldivar, Fort Scott, Travis Shockley and wife Debbie, Fort Scott, and Dalton Russell, Marionville, Mo; four daughters, Sheila Kennedy and husband Tim, Chanute, Kan., Carla Glover and husband Bob, Chanute, Kan., Rhonda Roalson and husband Chad, Whitefish, Mt., and Rayma Gegg, Altamont, Kan.; eight brothers, Leo Russell and wife Vesta, Natoma, Kan., Jesse Russell and wife Mary, Newton, Kan., Dennis Russell and wife Judy, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., Bob Russell and wife Linda, Leavenworth, Kan., Wayne Russell and wife Jean, Fort Scott, Don Russell and wife Linda, Fort Scott, Chuck Russell and wife Delene, Fort Scott, and Kevin Russell and wife Teresa, Fort Scott; 36 grandchildren; 28 great grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by a son, Jeffrey Russell; three brothers, Les, Joe and Jim Russell; two sisters, Rita Russell and Louise Roy; and his parents.

Rev. Shawn Shockley and Rev. Chuck Russell will conduct funeral services at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 15, at the Cheney Witt Chapel. Burial will follow in the St. Michael’s Catholic Cemetery, Fulton, Kan. The family will receive friends prior to the service at 1 p.m. Thursday. Memorials are suggested to the Jerry Russell Memorial Fund and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, PO Box 347, 201 S. Main, Ft. Scott, KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at

Obituary: Euegenia Ronnette Vincent

Submitted by Cheney Witt Funeral Home

Eugenia Ronnette Vincent, resident of Hiattville, Kan., died Thursday evening, June 8, 2017, at Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg, Kan.

She was born July 7, 1967, in Fort Scott, Kan., the daughter of Ronald and Dorothy Ham Brown. She graduated from Pittsburg State University with an accounting degree. She married Pat Vincent on August 22, 1986, in Fort Scott. Ronnette worked in accounting for Key Industries for 13 years. In 2002, she began working for Mid-Continental Restoration until present. She enjoyed reading novels, taking walks and spending time with her family. She was Hiattville 4-H Community Leader, Bourbon County Farm Bureau Board, leader of Bourbon County 4-H Junior Leaders, Bourbon County Extension PDC and Uniontown FFA Advisory Committee member. She was a member of the Hiattville United Methodist Church, serving as church treasurer.

Survivors include her husband Pat of the home; a son Luke Vincent and Heather, Carl Junction, Mo.; a daughter, Katelyn Meiwes and husband Joe, Moran, Kan.; brothers Ronald Brown, Jr., Kansas City, Mo., and Keith Brown and wife Julia, Fort Scott; sisters Melinda Collins and Dave, Fort Scott, and Sheila Eastwood and husband Tim, Drexel, Mo.; her father, Ronnie Brown, Sr. and step-mom Beverly Brown; step-grandmother, Dora Page; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her mother, Dorothy Ham-Moore; and an infant brother, David Brown.

There was cremation. Rev. Don Flanner will conduct memorial services at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 14, at the Hiattville United Methodist Church. Burial will follow in the Hiattville Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6 until 8 Tuesday evening at the Cheney Witt Chapel. Memorials are suggested to either the Hiattville United Methodist Church or the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, P.O. Box 347, 201 S. Main, Ft. Scott, KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at

Patty LaRoche: Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody

Once upon a time

There were four men named

Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done

And Everybody was asked to do it.

But Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

Anybody could have done it.

But Nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about it

Because it was Everybody’s job.

Everybody thought that Anybody could do it

And Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody

And Nobody did the job

“That Anybody could have done in the first place.” Author: anonymous

When my husband, Dave, coached baseball in Brooklyn, N.Y., he found himself working with a few youngsters who had found ways around performing their duties. One such person, nicknamed “Eddie Haskell” after the troublemaker in the “Leave It To Beaver” sitcom, was notorious for expecting someone else to do his job.

Let me give you some context. In pre-game practice, it is expected that yesterday’s pitcher is “on the bucket.” That means that during batting practice that pitcher stands behind a screen at second base. When balls are hit to the outfield, those players throw the ball to the “bucket guy,” who fills the bucket. When the batting practice pitcher gets low on balls, the bucket guy refills his basket. On Eddie’s assigned day, he was M.I.A. and another pitcher was doing his job…until the end of practice, that is, when he sauntered out of the clubhouse. Dave asked where he had been. Eddie appeared surprised that Dave noticed. “Doing my weight work” was not the answer Dave hoped for. In his opinion, everyone was to do more than expected, never less.

Ephesians 6:5-8 makes that clear: Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.

Any work we do should be done with excellence, no matter if we are being watched or not. Rick Warren echoes this idea in “The Purpose Driven Life” when he writes, “Work becomes worship when you dedicate it to God and perform it with an awareness of his presence.” Mowing the lawn. Driving a semi. Teaching a class. Cleaning a toilet. Reading to a child. Being on the bucket.

No one respects the person who works only when the boss is watching. The day after Eddie failed to do his job, Dave called all the pitchers together before the game and told them they all needed to thank Eddie. “Eddie somehow missed the bucket yesterday, so he has volunteered to be on it for the next three days.” The players applauded and cheered.

Well, except for Eddie, that is.

City Joins KCAMP

The Fort Scott City Commission decided Tuesday evening to change insurance methods after spending the past few years with Berkshire Hathaway for property and liability insurance, instead going with the cheaper option of joining KCAMP.

When the time for renewal came along, the commission decided to look at other options to see what was available to them, though City Manager Dave Martin emphasized that the decision was not because of any failure on Berkshire’s part.

We’re not leaving because of Berkshire’s misperformance,” Martin said. “Berkshire has done a great job.”

While the city’s premiums were rising to $264,283 a year with Berkshire, the city will pay $194,158 annually with the Kansas County Association Multiline Pool (KCAMP). Because KCAMP runs according to the calendar year, the city would pay half of that sum this summer and is guaranteed the same rate when they pay for 2018.

Because KCAMP is a pool, it is considered an association run by a board, but still legislated by the Kansas Insurance Department. This pool has been in existence since 1991 and now includes about 90 members, the majority of them being counties, including Bourbon County.

City contractor James Charlesworth described the differences between entering an associational pool versus using insurance, saying a pool charges contributions instead of premiums and are more accessible than insurance agencies.

The city is already a part of two pools for workman’s compensation and health benefits. Commissioner Jim Adams said he is comfortable with the change because of how positive their participation in pools have been up until now.

The last time the city sought an insurance company was in 2014, and the city decided they would look at other options every three years.

Grass Carp and Algae Control for Ponds

Submitted by Christopher Petty

Grass Carp

Grass carp, a fish species native to Asia, feed on aquatic plants and filamentous algae. Grass carp are biological tools used to control nuisance growth. Grass carp stocked into Washington lakes must be certified disease-free and sterile. Fish farmers create sterile fish (called triploids because they have an extra set of chromosomes) by subjecting fish eggs to temperature or pressure shock. Testing verifies that grass carp are sterile. Lake managers use grass carp to control the excessive growth of aquatic plants. Grass carp exhibit definite food preferences and consume some aquatic plant species more readily than others. Grass carp may control filamentous algae, although filamentous algae is not a preferred food. Grass carp may eat aquatic plants before eating filamentous algae. Some reports indicate that adding grass carp to a lake may promote the growth of other algae.


Pond owners can remove filamentous algae from the water using a sturdy rake with a rope attached to the end. The operator throws the rake into the water and pulls the rake and filamentous algae to shore. Compost the algae and use it in the garden. Raking is effective for small areas of filamentous algae but is time consuming and labor intensive when controlling larger areas. In addition, filamentous algae grow back quickly and may move around the water body through wind and wave action. Sometimes raking becomes a never-ending chore during summer months. Also, raking cannot remove blue-green algae and many other types of algae.

For more information on pond weeds, join the K-State Research and Extension –Southwind District for an informational pond weed meeting at the Yeager Building, located on the Bourbon County fairgrounds, in Fort Scott, Kan. This meeting featuring K-State Research and Extension Wildlife Specialist Charlie Lee and sponsored by Miller Feed and Farm, will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday June 8. A ten dollar registration fee, payable at the door will cover meals and materials. Please preregister for a meal by calling 620-223- 3720 or e-mailing Southwind Extension District Agent for Livestock Production and Forage Management Christopher Petty at

Commission Removes Previous Position

Environmental Service Coordinator Eric Bailey left a hole in the county’s staff with his recent resignation, but instead of filling the position, the county commissioners decided to use the employees they have to complete the tasks Bailey had been responsible for.

Bailey worked his final day Friday after reaching the decision to move from the county and begin his own sub-contracting business. His job included working with contractors, overseeing inspections for those buying and selling homes and approving permits for projects occurring in flood plains, among other responsibilities.

During their Tuesday morning meeting, the Bourbon County Commission and attorney Justin Meeks discussed the decision to use four employees from the GIS/IT and Assessor’s departments to cover those tasks. By doing so, the county would save the money that would be needed to cover an employees salary and would instead cover the hours the individuals would work.

Meeks said those employees should be able to maintain the quality of the work the county usually provides, but may not always be able to in the same timely manner as when they had a full-time employee devoted to the position. If the change does not seem to work, or if area development suddenly increases, the commission would revisit the decision.

Continuing in the budget season, the commissioners said they have to work carefully to make sure the needed finances are available as they collect budget requests from various departments. Already, they are trying to discern how to increase the wages for members of the sheriff’s department, to make the positions more competitive, within the current budget. Five positions have also been cut from the roads and bridges department in order to consolidate positions and save funding.

Meeks said the main way a county is able to save money is by cutting people or services, while commissioner Jeff Fischer added it is up to the leadership to prioritize their services and decide where to invest their money.

Obituary: Robert Eugene Colvin

Submitted by Cheney Witt Funeral Home

Robert Eugene “Bob” Colvin, age 73, of Wichita, Kan., passed away Saturday June 3, 2017, at his home.

He was born on August 28, 1943 in Fort Scott, Kan., the son of George and Ruby Riley Colvin. Bob was a Veteran serving his country with the United States Navy for four years and with the United States Air Force for twenty two years. He married Ursula Knittel on April 12, 1974, in Lakeland, Ga., they were happily married for 43 years. After retiring from the military, he went to work for Boeing working and modifying airplanes. He was a member of the V.F.W Post 3115, Wichita, Kan.

Bob was survived by his wife, Ursula of the home; a daughter, Janice Enitla of Wichita, Kan.; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, one brother, Jerry Colvin; and a sister, Linda Adams.

Funeral services will be held at 11:30 a.m. Thursday June 8, 2017, at the Cheney Witt Chapel. Burial will follow in the U.S. National Cemetery, Fort Scott, Kan.. The family suggests contributions to the American Cancer Society in care of the Funeral Home P.O. Box 347, Fort Scott, KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the guest book at