Fort Scott Fire Department plays role in circus prep

The local fire department had the opportunity to participate in the Carson & Barnes Circus when they were asked to help wash the elephants before the first showing Monday afternoon at the Fairgrounds.

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Captain Dale Bollinger of the Fort Scott Fire Department said the circus contacted them to participate in the pre-show event of washing the elephants, which was open for members of the community to come witness.

“That was the first time I’ve ever done it,” said Bollinger, who has been with the department 25 years. “It’s pretty neat.”

After a circus employee used a leaf blower to remove dirt from the three elephants, firefighters then got to take turns using the hose from the fire engine to wash off the three elephants.

Others from the community, such as students from the Christian Learning Center, came to the circus venue earlier in the day to witness the raising of the big top and also to see the elephants and ask questions about them and the circus in general.

The circus held two showings Monday, with funding going towards the local chamber of commerce.

City Commission honors quick-thinking teen

During their meeting Tuesday evening, the Fort Scott City Commission recognized student Darby Toth, who used her first aid training to perform CPR and defibrillation on an assistant debate coach when he had a heart attack while the debate team attended a clinic in August.

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“It’s always great when we can recognize one of our youth in our community,” Mayor Cindy Bartelsmeyer said.

Toth received the first aid training this summer as she served as a lifeguard and was able to put that training to good use when the need arose outside of her lifeguard duty.

“I just want to thank the city for investing time and money into us,” Toth said on behalf of other students who receive that training. “Because without the training I had at the beginning of the summer, I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did.”

Bartelsmeyer also read a proclamation declaring Oct. 2, as Fort Scott’s Manufacturing Day, honoring those workers and businesses in the city and county that provide jobs and assets to the community.

Robert Goltra of the Fort Scott Community College and Visionary Workforce Development Committee said the college will host an event at their east campus featuring booths from area businesses.

“We are inviting the community… to come out and visit,” Goltra said, encouraging the city leaders to participate.

Director of Economic Development Heather Griffith gave an update on the projects being completed through the Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant funding, including the riverfront project, the former Western Insurance buildings downtown, the site of the 2005 downtown Fort Scott fire and other projects such as the new Dairy Queen and Norris Heating and Air.

“It’s a great program and we’re really taking advantage of it,” Griffith said of the grant, which in the near future will help pay for site assessments in the industrial park area.

The commissioners also approved granting $1,500 to the Keyhole, which will host several after-school events for local students this fall.

First Infantry Band performs at historic site

The Fort Scott National Historic Site continued their third annual Symbols of Sacrifice event, featuring almost 7,000 flags to be flown at the fort Sept. 11-17, with a performance by the 1st Infantry Division Band from Fort Riley Saturday evening.

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The band, which included a brass quintet as well as a percussionist, performed a variety of songs ranging from patriotic to recent pop culture tunes as well as classical pieces, which they have also performed for others while on deployment. Four of the band members had just recently returned from deployment.

“We are very happy and excited to be playing here for you tonight,” band member Jason Bemis said to the community members present for the concert at the fort.

Other band members included Chris Arnold, William Knight, John Doney, Bradley Smith and Amanda DiClerico playing trumpets, a French horn, trombone, tuba and drum set.

The band honored each branch of the armed forces by playing the song of each branch and asking veterans and family members of military members to stand. They closed their performance with “America the Beautiful.”

Park ranger Bill Fischer also honored all Vietnam veterans in partnership with the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration.

“A grateful nation thanks all of you,” Fischer said to those veterans, who received commemorative pins.

A 21-gun salute was fired in honor of those veterans and all military members followed by taps played by a member of the brass band.

The flags – each representing an American killed since the start of the War on Terror while in combat, in the line of duty at home or away as well as non-combatants killed – will be on display at the fort’s parade grounds until noon on Thursday.

Tigers find success in first home game

The Fort Scott Tigers fought and kicked their way to another win Friday evening for their first home game of the season, beating the Spring Hill Broncos 50-14 at the newly renovated Frary Field.

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The Tigers struck quickly and often, scoring their first touchdown after just three plays with just over one minute off the clock. They would go on to score four touchdowns in the first quarter with just 15 plays total and with two interceptions.

Head coach Bob Campbell said all phases of the team played their role well – offensive, defensive and special teams.

“I’m really proud of the guys,” Campbell said after the win. “Overall, I thought it was a good all-around win.”

The Tigers finished the game with almost 450 total yards, four interceptions, and a defense that held the Broncos to just two touchdowns. But a highlight of the game came when senior Brody Southwell kicked a 52-yard field goal to cap the Tigers’ score with just seconds remaining in the third quarter.

“You don’t often see a 52-yard field goal in a high school game,” Campbell said of the kick, which resulted in a celebration on the field for the players though a full quarter remained in the game.

The season continues for Fort Scott Friday with a home game against Pittsburg.

“We made improvements since last week,” Campbell said, adding they will look for more ways to improve.

Played on the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11, attack, the national anthem was played before the game’s start as the colors were presented by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars. Attendees also participated in a moment of silence and the Fort Scott dance team performed to patriotic music during halftime.

USD 234 holds 2nd Annual Color Run

For a second year, the physical education teachers of USD 234 organized the Tigers on the Move event for members of the school and Fort Scott communities to encourage activity and health for local families.

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“It’s all for fun,” Chris Sather, PE teacher at Winfield Scott Elementary School, said of the 3K event. “We’re trying to get the families active together.”

Sather said they considered the event a huge success as the number of participants approximately doubled from the previous year, with about 450 people preregistered for the event held at the Waterfront Park.

Participants of all ages, wearing white shirts, walked and ran the 1.8 mile route that took them past Fort Scott High School and Fort Scott Community College students and athletes as well as city leaders armed with bottles of paint to spray on them.

Funded by a Team Nutrition grant, the event this year included the theme of fruits and vegetables, encouraging participants to eat a variety of colors when they eat their fruit and vegetables.

Sather said they appreciated the support from the city as well as the school district, saying the event was a group effort.

Fort Scott historic site prepares for Symbols of Sacrifice event

The Fort Scott National Historic Site began placing flags on its parade grounds Thursday afternoon in preparation for its third annual Symbols of Sacrifice event, to be held Sept. 11-17.

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About 20 students from Fort Scott Christian Heights came to help place the flags and Uniontown middle school students plan to come Friday to do the same as they place the almost 7,000 flags honoring the men and women killed during the War on Terror.

“It’s nice to have them participate and maybe take something away from it,” park ranger and event organizer Bill Fischer said of those students, some of whom are not much younger than the soldiers killed.

Fischer said the event first began with a group of community members who wanted to honor those killed. One of those involved in the start-up even had the difficult job of being present when family members were informed of a soldier’s death.

“It was driven by community members who really wanted to recognize those men and women,” Fischer said.

Since that time, the national historic site has hosted the event annually, getting the number of deaths from the United States Central Command. This year 6,838 flags will be flown, including flags for those killed in action, those who died in the line of duty such as in vehicle accidents, and American non-combatants who were also killed.

Individual flags are also placed in honor of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, for United States civilians killed overseas and those killed in other American wars.

“It’s a labor of love,” Fischer said of placing those flags, saying they are looking for volunteers who could give some of their time Friday to help. “It’s not easy to do. It takes a lot of people.”

Fischer said they also need volunteers to participate in reading the names of all those killed, starting at 7 a.m. Saturday morning, over the public announcement system in downtown Fort Scott. The names will be read in 15 minute increments.

“It means a lot to me,” said Fischer, who retired from the United States Air Force in 2003 and has three children who are veterans of the War on Terror, including a son who was injured while overseas and saw fellow soldiers killed.

Fischer said he has heard from others as well who were moved by the event, such as a man who heard the name of a man he served with read over the PA system in a previous year.

This year, the event will feature a concert by the 1st Infantry Division’s Brass Band out of Fort Riley, starting at 6 p.m. Saturday. The event will also take time to recognize Vietnam veterans in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

Throughout the following week, the flags will be kept in place for visitors to see.

United Way kicks off yearly campaign at Chamber coffee

United Way hosted the weekly Chamber Coffee Thursday morning, giving an update on their organization as well as handing out award letters to the 12 agencies they support financially.

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Gina Shelton, treasurer of United Way, said they wanted to use this Chamber Coffee as an opportunity to recognize the agencies they support and give them a chance to describe what they do.

“You know in general what the agencies are, but you don’t know about all of them,” Shelton said.

Shelton also described changes that have come to the area United Way in the past seven months or so, in their effort to cut administrative costs so they could give more to area charities and agencies.

“We had seen that there was a progressive decline in the money that was coming in,” Shelton said.

As a result, United Way gave up their office as well as their landline and also let go of a paid position so it is run by a board of volunteers. Because of all these changes, Shelton said this year they will take a break from the Zombie Chase, but bring it back next year.

Even with all these cost-saving cuts, Shelton said they are still in need of donations from the community so United Way can invest it right back into Fort Scott and Bourbon County through organizations that assist the infirm, young, elderly, destitute and others in a variety of ways.

“We really want to get the money more out to the community,” Shelton said.

United Way presented award letters to 12 area organizations to support them in their work, including Bourbon County Inter-Agency Coalition Board, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Bourbon County Senior Citizens, Care to Share, 4-H Fair, Kansas Legal Services, Keyhole Youth Center, Fort Scott Ministerial Alliance and Hospitality fund, Safehouse Crisis Center, Southeast Kansas Respite Services, Tri-Valley Developmental Services and United Cerebral Palsy of Kansas.

Representatives from each organization gave a brief description and update of their respective entity.

Other local business members also gave announcements for the cost of $1 to go toward the fund for Dolly the Trolley. Announcements this week included:

  • This weekend, Common Grounds will host performers including Doug Harper of Nevada and local high school student Alex King.
  • The Church of the Nazarene will again hold their Motor Sunday event on Sept. 20, including a ride for life and a car show as well as other activities for families.
  • The Fort Scott National Historic Site will start placing flags Thursday afternoon for their Symbols of Sacrifice event which will begin Friday and continue through Sept. 17. The weekly Concerts in the Park event will be performed at the fort Friday evening and the 1st Infantry Division’s Brass Band will perform a concert Saturday at 6 p.m. The event still needs volunteers to read the names of those who have died during the war on terror Saturday over the downtown public announcement system. Names will be read in 15 minute increments.
  • Meals on Wheels in Bourbon County continues to look for volunteers who can deliver meals to senior citizens of the community.
  • The 59th Pioneer Harvest Fiesta will begin Sept. 24 with a parade before events such as a quilt show and machinery auction start Fri., Sept. 25, and end on Sept. 27. The event is in need of volunteers who can participate any of those days.
  • With the end of the year approaching, Fort Scott Family Dental encourages those with dental plans to set up their appointments. New patients are also always welcomed.
  • Already, the local rotary club is beginning preparations for the sixth annual Dancing with the Stars event to be held in February, featuring married couples performing a variety of dancing styles. Those interested in being involved can contact rotary members.
  • My Father’s House is partnering with Casey’s to hold a fundraiser, featuring pizza and donut coupons. The $15 pizza coupon allows the coupon holder to buy a large pizza and get a second small pizza free 10 times, while the $10 donut coupon gets a second half a dozen donuts free on 10 occasions.
  • Deb Madison, the community relations coordinator for Medicalodges, will retire at the end of the month after 21 years with the center. A reception will be held for her Sept. 29, 8-9 a.m.
  • The Fort Scott High School and the city of Fort Scott are looking for adult mentors to get involved with the Career Exploration Mentor Program, pairing a community member with a high school junior or senior. Mentors meet with the student a couple times a month and help them plan for a future career.
  • USD 234 will hold the Tigers on the Move Color Run Friday at the Riverfront trail at 5 p.m., before the first home game for the varsity football team.
  • The Town-wide Garage Sale will be held Friday and Saturday, with maps of participating homes available at the chamber of commerce and other local businesses.

Work on new Lowell Milken Center building nears completion

The completion date for the new Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes building approaches as final touches are made on the building across the street from the current LMC location on Main Street.

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Executive director Norm Conard said they started looking into purchasing another building about two years ago, with the plan of using an already-existing, historical structure. But when that plan fell through because of the cost of refurbishing, they instead looked into constructing their own new building.

“The new building will be an ideal situation for the center,” Conard said. “Thanks to Mr. [Lowell] Milken and his investment in Fort Scott and his belief and vision for our center.”

Work began on that building in the months after a ground-breaking ceremony in Sept. 2014. With just flooring and some other projects remaining, Conard said they expect the building to be done in early October.

Project supervisor Bill Draney of the A.L. Huber contractors said the weather this season slowed their project some with frequent rains earlier in the year, but it has since been on task and is nearing completion.

The new building, with about 6,500 square feet compared to the current building of about 2,500, houses a large exhibit area, conference room and office areas. While they have seven to 10 exhibits in the current location, Conard said they will be able to add more in the new building.

Conard said the center will continue to use the current building, but for workshops and training with teachers from around the world during the summer, for student research, archives, storage, overflow from large tour groups and an area to film projects.

While the building will be complete in approximately a month, Conard said it will likely take four to six months to put all the exhibits in place. Tentatively, they hope to hold a grand-opening in May of 2016.

Next door to the new building will be a city park, increasing the aesthetic nature of the downtown area. Conard said he looks forward to seeing how the city will benefit from that and the new Lowell Milken Center.

“We’re excited about the downtown and what that means for not just Fort Scott but for our region, as far as bringing visitors and guests,” Conard said.

The center first opened its doors in 2007, with the goal of helping educate students as well as honoring historical figures whose stories are not commonly known. It has since reached more than one million students, whose projects each include a film, performance, exhibit and website for those unsung heroes they discovered.

The success of the center has recently spread even internationally with the opening of a similar center in Europe.

Buck Run kicks off fall semester with activities

With the beginning of the new school year, the Buck Run Community Center has also kicked off some of its fall activities for a range of ages, offering both new and returning activities for membership holders and others interested in getting involved.

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Since opening its doors in the 1930s, the community center has seen a variety of changes and improvements over the years until it now houses basketball courts, volleyball courts, exercise equipment room, racquetball courts and other services.

“We have a lot of programs,” said director Tom Robertson, who has been at the community center for about 15 years.

Some changes to the fall activities include the addition of gymnastics for children age 3-14 years old, after having gone a few years without that program since they did not have a certified instructor. That program begins this week, offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The center also has a new trainer to go with the returning instructors of the numerous fitness classes the center offers each week.

Karen Rienbolt, with a master’s degree in physical education, will lead fitness classes every Monday and Wednesday morning and a second class Monday and Wednesday afternoons, beginning Sept. 14, and will continue through December. The 12-week sessions with 24 classes will cost $30 per participant.

Buck Run also offers two PiYo classes, a combination of Pilates and yoga, each week, led by instructor Lynette Westhoff. Alex Horttor will instruct a full-body boot camp two days a week as well. The former starts Wednesday while the eight-week boot camp begins in October.

Senior exercise classes led by Edith Collins are also offered during the week.

Robertson said one of the most popular activities over the past couple years has been the Biggest Loser program, offered in the fall as a team challenge and the spring for individuals. The weigh-in for participating teams of five will be Thursday and then each week after that for 10 weeks.

The cost for a team is $60 and weekly incentives will be awarded with prizes given to the top three teams at the end of the program in November.

Buck Run also hosts community dances a few evenings each semester, the first to be held Sept. 19, with lessons offered just before each dance as well as once a week.

Youth leagues include flag football, micro-soccer, volleyball, and cheer clinics. Adults can participate in volleyball, men’s and women’s pickle ball and co-ed kickball leagues.

The community center also offers activities for students during certain days off school during the semester as well as the occasional dodgeball game, a pumpkin carving contest prior to Halloween, a snow sculpture contest during the winter months and a Tiger Spirit award offered for the best decorated house, yard or individual.

Those interested in learning more about activities can find more information at the Buck Run Community Center.

“We just like to see people get involved,” Robertson said. “Our job is to improve the quality of life in Fort Scott, so that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Art Walk to feature local and visiting artists

Submitted by Deb Anderson

The Downtown Art Walk was first introduced by the Chamber in 2013. In 2014 the Bourbon County Arts Council assumed the event. Our goal is to see this become a trademark cultural event in Fort Scott in which we promote established and emerging artists, providing an opportunity for artists to showcase their talents. We are so fortunate to have such a vast array of unique individuals in the community with such creativity and skills in artwork, including paintings, photography, pottery and jewelry.

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This is a family friendly event that takes place on the Patio of the Liberty Theatre and Main Street between First and Second Street on Friday, Sept. 11, from 5 to 8 p.m. There is no charge to attend. The Art Walk is an opportunity for both the art enthusiasts and those simply looking for a pleasant evening out to connect with the artists in our community.

We welcome artists to participate in the Art Walk. We are looking for visual art that has been made, no products or services. There is no charge for artists to participate. Anyone interested may call Deb Anderson at 620-223-8650 or email Each Artist is responsible for their setup needs.

The Young Professional League provides an activity for children.

First Winery opens in Bourbon County

Fort Scott and Bourbon County welcomed the Vinedo del Alamo Winery Friday afternoon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony provided by the Chamber of Commerce, inviting other business owners and community leaders to see the new business.

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Located east on Poplar Road north of Fort Scott, the name of the winery is Spanish for poplar vineyard, a tribute to the business and vineyard’s location as well as the owners’ Texas heritage.

Bobby and Denise Duncan have been residents and active members of Fort Scott for several years, but also hold roots in Texas, where Denise grew up and Bobby also lived for a time. But, admitting that vineyards do not grow well in Texas, the Duncans said they looked into starting one in Fort Scott after they purchased land off Poplar.

“I like wine,” Bobby said of his reason for first considering this venture.

Initially, the couple planned to sell the fruit from their vineyard to other wineries and businesses, but none showed interest right away as their product volume is not high at the moment, though Bobby said they look forward to an increase as they move forward.

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But instead, the couple looked into opening their own winery, the first official one to open in the area.

“This is the first winery ever in Bourbon County,” chamber of commerce director Lindsay Madison said.

The business’ doors will be open Friday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. each week, although it is also open for Labor Day this week. The winery also has an outdoor, covered area with tables and opportunity for live music.

The Duncans requested that visitors sign a guestbook, hoping to get enough signatures to receive highway signage for the business.

Fort hosts Highlights in History event through Labor Day

The fort again welcomes visitors Monday for its annual Highlights in History event after scores of Fort Scott residents and visitors from out of town visited the national historic site Saturday and Sunday.

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Visitors could take part in guided tours, witness musket and artillery demonstrations and visit with participants dressed up as figures from history such as soldiers, officers, laundresses, cooks and physicians.

Those activities and others will be featured again on Monday, including special presentations from the viewpoint of a surviving soldier from the Marais des Cygnes Massacre and how the Bleeding Kansas events affected other areas of the community and its government.

Activities at the fort begin again at 10 a.m. Monday and will continue until 4 p.m.