Worrying by Patty LaRoche

I don’t worry about little things. Only big things. Like covering my bald spot and keeping it covered. Or answering a question at bible study correctly. Or keeping my fingernail polish from chipping. Or missing a deal on Etsy. Or honking (when and for how long) at rude drivers. Or forgetting names. Or questioning if the pastor is singling me out with his sermon. (And yes, he is.)

You know, big things.

I hope you get my point. Making a mountain out of a molehill is an area in which I excel, and before I know it, I’ve turned that little hump into Mt. Everest. So, you can imagine what I do with actual mountains… like every one of my family members. People on my bible study’s cancer list. Our country. Being bold in sharing the Gospel.

One person defined worry as “to gnaw.” This is what he said: “Like a dog with a bone, the worrier chews all day long, and sometimes it is a very old bone the worrier gnaws. The bone gets buried and dug up, buried and dug up, as the same old pain gets reworried ceaselessly.” I so get that.

If I give myself permission, I can allow those thoughts to turn into a runaway freight train, and my worries can consume my thoughts until they dominate my moods. That’s why I need to cling to Charlie Brown’s adage: “Worrying won’t stop the bad stuff from happening. It just stops you from enjoying the good.” So true. After all, we all are given X-amount of seconds to live. Why would we spend even one of those thinking of “the bad stuff” and not the “good”?

You and I are surrounded with blessings. Too many to count. This year, because of the giftedness of my step-daughter and daughter-in-law, I will be taking 100 Ziploc bags of lotions, shampoos, etc. to hand out to people who work at the dump here in Mexico. Today at church, three of the praise team members were introduced as coming to Christ through the ministry in the colonias where the poorest of poor live and where our church weekly goes to feed and tell them of Jesus. We learned of a musical conductor who brought instruments from the states and is starting an orchestra with the children in a colonia. Every time our pastor returns to the U.S., we were told, he returns with wheelchairs; to date, he has brought over 100 which he “loans” to the handicapped. Blessings upon blessings!

For 2020, I’m making a pact with myself to stop my runaway, worry-train dead in its tracks. I will focus on what is good and true and edifying. I will hand my concerns over to God and refuse to take them back, and I will remember what Corrie Ten Boom wrote in her book, Clippings From My Notebook: “Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.” And that includes my bald spot.

Allen Schellack: Compassionate Support

Allen Schellack, ministry coordinator for Fort Scott Compassionate Ministries at his office upstairs at 26 N. Main.

Allen Schellack wears many hats, all of them serving his community in some way.

He coordinates Fort Scott Compassionate Ministries(FSCM), Bourbon County Salvation Army,  and Care Portal.

Schellack is also a part of the Fort Scott Ministerial Alliance. He attends the Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene.

“I don’t know how to say ‘no’,” Schellack told the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Coffee attendees on Jan. 16. FSCM hosted the coffee on that day along with the Senior Citizens Center.

“My wife bought me a ‘no’ button,” he said with a smile.

But it doesn’t seem to be working.

“Compassion is an important part of what we do,” Shellack said. “We are looking at how to be more effective in the community.”

“Our biggest need in the community is freedom from drugs and alcohol,  and respect for each other and themselves,” he said.

“I can pray and give caring support or a place to encourage you that you are worth something,” he said.

His office, where he coordinates all the ministries, is upstairs at the Senior Citizens Center, 26 N. Main.

Bourbon County Senior Citizens Center, 26 N. Main.

From here he oversees assistance to foster families, homeless individuals, and services through the other community partnerships.

FSCM teamed with CarePortal, an online church engagement tool that connects the child welfare workers to churches. The portal makes churches aware of needs and gives the opportunity to respond to those needs. There are about six churches in Bourbon County who help in this way.

He also provides services to homeless people, along with hygienic supplies, phone access and fellowship.

Last year, the ministry also helped with needed supplies to students and assisted families at Christmas time.

FSCM is the designated Salvation Army Disaster Relief and Services Extension Unit for Bourbon County.

This is where the annual  Salvation Army bell-ringing fundraiser comes into play that Schellack coordinates.

At the Jan. 16 Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Coffee, Schellack thanked all those who volunteered at Christmas, ringing the bells for the Salvation Army.

“We didn’t meet our goal but did raise over $7,000 to help the community for crisis times,” he said. Through SA, he can provide disaster relief assistance, rental/utility assistance, prescriptions, temporary lodging, gasoline for work or doctor, eyeglass help and other unspecified needs on a case by case basis.

The Fort Scott Ministerial Alliance gathers once a month and they have a hospitality fund that helps transients who are “stuck here in town, we help them get on their way,” he said.

Fort Scott City Manager Dave Martin, a coffee attendee,  thanked Schellack for all the services he provides the community.

FSCM is a volunteer organization, with no paid staff. The services are provided through local churches and community partners.

Schellack can be reached at 620.223.2212.

Fort Scott Compassionate Ministries, located above the Senior Citizens Center on North Main Street.





FS Tigers Back In the Pool

Bobbie Kemmerer, left and Oliver Witt. Submitted photo.
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)
Submitted by Angie Kemmerer

The Offices: Starting a Small Business Turn-Key

The Offices, a set of offices being developed by Legweak LLC.
Jeff and Jamie Armstrong have put resources of time and money into The Offices, located at 1711-1715 S. National Avenue. (Just north of Subway Restaurant.)
Jeff and Jamie Armstrong stand in front of the property they developed into business suites. Submitted photo.

Recently, they signed on their first renter in the development.


“We cater to small businesses that need a turn-key solution without the overhead of their own storefront,” Jamie Armstrong said.
“We created this space to help attract and grow small businesses in a community we dearly love,” she said.  “It is difficult to find professional space that’s affordable with great visibility when you are getting started or growing into a new market.”
The Armstrong’s have worked in the last few months to build the offices, which were created to fit the need of the renter.
“We hope that by adapting size and scale, we have brought to a rural market like Fort Scott, a small business concept that has been wildly popular in urban markets,” Armstrong said.

The first business moving into The Offices building is Mag-Lab of Pittsburg. This business offers medical lab services to the community.


Brian Holt, Mag-Lab medical technologist and Sharon Newell, phlebotomist, stand in the lobby of The Offices, where the new Mag-Lab is located. There are six offices available in this section of the buildings. A common lobby, restroom, and kitchen area are shared among the renters.


“They open up February 3rd,” Armstrong said.  ” We have five remaining units available for lease.”


” Our amenities include private, pre-wired 10’x12’ office with on-site storage, virtual receptionist, common area cleaning service, and all utilities included for one flat monthly cost. We offer flexible lease terms that start at $500/mo. We would be the perfect option for a satellite law practice, CPA, medical practitioner, a work-from-home business and many, many others.”


The common kitchenette area of The Offices, 1711 S. National.


The restroom has wheelchair accessibility at The Offices.


The name of the development business that the Armstrong’s started is Legweak,LLC. For more information: 620-224-3036.

See their Facebook page at Legweak Properties

Chamber Coffee at Walmart Vision Center Jan. 23

The Chamber Coffee will be hosted by Walmart Supercenter
Please meet in the Vision Center
2500 S. Main St.
Thursday, January 23, 2020
Click here for Walmart’s Facebook page.
Click here for their website.
Chamber Members & Guests are
welcome to attend and pay $1 to make
any announcement about their business
or organization including events, new products, promotions, or anything else to share!
Upcoming Chamber Coffee Schedule:
*My1Stop hosting at Empress Center 1/30
* OPEN 2/6! – Please call the Chamber to Schedule
* Visage Skin Care Spa & Ribbon cutting 2/13
* Ascension Via Christi 2/20
* OPEN 2/27! – Please call the Chamber to Schedule

Kansas Health Issues Presented

KDHE Secretary Delivers State of Public Health Address


Topeka – Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Secretary Lee Norman, MD, delivered “2020: The State of the Health of Kansans” to the Kansas Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee this morning.  Dr. Norman will deliver the same presentation to the Kansas House Health and Human Services Committee Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. This is the first time KDHE has delivered such address to the Kansas Legislature.


“As the State Health Officer, it is my duty to look at the health of our state and provide education on what we as a state can do at an individual level, a community level and a government level,” said Dr. Lee Norman, Secretary of KDHE. “Health isn’t just medical care. It’s our behaviors, our environment, our policies and our outcomes.”


Since 1990, Kansas has seen the greatest decline in its health rankings according to America’s Health Rankings published December 6, 2019.


  • Behaviors – Kansas ranks #38 in the survey for obesity rates and #30 for smoking.
  • Environment – Kansas ranks #21 in the U.S. for the number of children living in poverty. Kansas’ chlamydia numbers are twice the healthiest state, at 465 per 100,000.
  • Policy – Kansas ranks #49 in U.S. for females receiving the HPV vaccine and #34 for males. Kansas ranks #32 for children 19-35 months receiving completed vaccines at 69 percent. Kansas ranks 40th for the amount of dollars in public health funding at $60/person. This is 4.5 times less than the top state at $281/per person.
  • Medical Care – There is low access to dentists, particularly in rural Kansas. Kansas ranks #38 with 50 dentists per 100,000. Kansas also ranks #35 for mental health providers.
  • Outcomes – Kansas ranks in the bottom half on cancer, cardiovascular and diabetes deaths; frequent mental distress; infant mortality; and premature deaths in years lost before age 75.


“What this data suggests is that Kansas needs to improve access to care – addressing the shortage of medical professionals, financial impediments and geographic maldistribution among others,” said Dr. Norman. “It suggests that we have unhealthy behaviors that need to be remedied and that there’s a need for active illness prevention and intervention.”


Dr. Norman continued, “Every Kansan can take steps to improve our state’s health – increase your physical activity, be mindful of proper nutrition and make sure your family is up-to-date on immunizations. It’s also critical that we as a state look beyond ourselves and our families, to our neighbors and community members. It’s time for us to intervene and invest in the health of Kansans.”


Evergy Evaluates Options

Evergy Affirms Board and Management’s Focus on Delivering
Long-Term Value Creation and Serving Stakeholders’ Best Interests 

Updates Stakeholders Regarding Dialogue with Elliott Management


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – January 21, 2020 – Evergy, Inc. (NYSE: EVRG), a vertically integrated, regulated, investor-owned electric utility created by the merger of Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy in June of 2018, today issued the following statement regarding the dialogue the Company has had with Elliott Management Corporation (Elliott):


In October 2019, we were approached by Elliott, which proposed two alternative paths for the Company to consider:


  1. Evergy should immediately initiate a process to explore the sale of the Company or some other business combination;


  1. Evergy should significantly increase its capex over the Company’s current plan, cut investments in operations and maintenance (O&M) to help offset this increase, and halt its existing share repurchase program.


Since October, we have engaged in good faith with Elliott to fully understand and evaluate their proposals.  As a part of this process, we have engaged Morgan Stanley as financial advisor and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP as legal counsel to assist management and the Board with an evaluation of Elliott’s proposals and our strategic plan.

We are open to evaluating opportunities that may create greater value and recognize that Elliott has different views regarding our strategic plan. At the same time, there are various considerations that we believe are important when evaluating the conclusions that Elliott has asserted in its letter.


As expressed to Elliott, we are confident in our ability to deliver long-term growth and shareholder value creation through the execution of our strategic plan. This plan includes maximizing operational savings from our 2018 merger, the share repurchase program we committed to when this merger was completed, paying a competitive dividend and making capital investment that will drive value.


  • We are executing on our operating plan and are achieving substantial cost savings. We are on track to exceed the $550 million of cumulative net cost savings targeted through 2023 in connection with the merger.  These savings include $110 million of savings in 2019 alone – $80 million above our 2018 target.  Notably, these savings are being achieved while protecting jobs; there have been no involuntary layoffs at the Company.
  • Merger savings, share repurchases, dividends and infrastructure investments are contributing to sustainable earnings growth and competitive shareholder returns.  At this time, given the regulatory considerations in Missouri and Kansas, we believe the greatest return opportunities for Evergy’s capital beyond our current investment plan are share repurchases and growing the Company’s dividend. Together with the Company’s merger savings and incremental infrastructure investments utilizing plant in-service accounting in Missouri, we expect to deliver compounded annual earnings growth of 5% to 7% through 2023.
  • Evergy’s third quarter results demonstrate the strength of the Company and the value opportunity we offer to Evergy shareholders. We delivered another solid quarter, despite regulatory headwinds. Our confidence in the business and our financial strength is reflected in the confirmation of our 2019 adjusted EPS guidance of $2.80 to $3.00 and the 6.3% increase to our dividend, also consistent with our long-term guidance.


We remain open to continuing our dialogue with Elliott. As we consider any opportunity, we are resolute in our commitment to serving the best interests of all Evergy stakeholders, including our shareholders, employees, customers and the communities we serve.


The support of our regulators is very important, and we will maintain an open, collaborative dialogue with them as we – and they – consider Elliott’s views.


Morgan Stanley is acting as financial advisor and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is acting as legal advisor to the Company.


About Evergy, Inc.

Evergy, Inc. (NYSE: EVRG) provides clean, safe and reliable energy to 1.6 million customers in Kansas and Missouri. The 2018 combination of Kansas City Power and Light Company and Westar Energy to form Evergy created a leading energy company that provides value to shareholders and a stronger company for customers.


Evergy’s mission is to empower a better future. Today, half the power supplied to homes and businesses by Evergy comes from emission-free sources, creating more reliable energy with less impact to the environment. We will continue to innovate and adopt new technologies that give our customers better ways to manage their energy use.


For more information about Evergy, Inc., visit us at www.evergy.com.

New export assistance grant available to companies across Kansas



Topeka, Kan. – Companies based in the state of Kansas have a new tool to help them succeed in selling their goods or services to customers around the world. The Kansas Market Access Program (K-MAP) lowers the end-user cost of international market research, export documentation and foreign business partner meetings, so Kansas companies can reach more customers and close more deals.


Emerging out of the public-private partnership between the Kansas Department of Commerce and the Wichita-based Kansas Global Trade Services, K-MAP is made available as a one-time opportunity. Interested companies are encouraged to apply before June 30, 2020, in order to ensure access to grant funding.


“The needs of Kansas exporters vary greatly,” Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “While Commerce already has a successful program designed to help companies participate in international trade shows (KITSAP), this new program provides assistance for a range of other activities vital to their success.”


Karyn Page, President & CEO of Kansas Global, adds, “We learned what works best when we implemented the state’s first export plan in Wichita. That’s why we asked the Kansas Legislature for this grant to be added to our contact. We found that having a flexible grant for companies to use is the sweetener they need to fast-track international sales.”


For more information about the Kansas Market Access Program and to apply online, visit kansascommerce.gov/k-map-application or kansasglobal.org.

Fort Scott Chamber: Encouraging Businesses

Lindsay Madison is the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Executive Director.

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.

Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, 321 E. Wall

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.

To learn more: /https://www.workreadycommunities.org/

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:


To see the Chamber sponsored events, view the flyer below:



To join the Chamber, click here:







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