Patty LaRoche: Making Assumptions

“I have never learned anything with my mouth open.” So reads the sign on the office wall of our friend, Howard, who shared that ditty with us this past week. Although clever, I disagree. I have learned great lessons with my mouth open: mainly, that I can be a fool.

Like a few days ago. I was in Wichita, Kan., for a baseball tournament with my husband and three sons. For a week our lives were scheduled for us, thanks to organizers Brent and Jenny Hall and their adult daughter, Haleigh, who kept us informed of schedule changes, etc.

On Friday evening the family members were to meet in the lobby at 5:45 p.m. for a scheduled 6 p.m. bus departure to the ballgame. I was there. Alone. I texted my daughter-in-law, Jenn, who said the group text showed a time change to 6:30. She suggested that I ask Haleigh to put me on her group text so that I would get the announcements. That’s what I did.

Immediately my phone lit up with rapid-fire texts from the other wives. “Do you have an extra hat I can have?” “I will meet you at the game. Don’t look for me on the bus.” “Can I get extra tickets for friends coming into town?” You get the picture. Jenn suggested I ask to be removed from the group text. Good idea. I texted Haleigh to make that request.

On Sunday morning, I found out that friends from Fort Scott were coming to the game, and since Haleigh’s number was still in my contact list, I texted her to ask for tickets. Her response? “Sorry, but you were removed from this group. Maybe you should ask someone in the group to add you again!”

I read it again.

EXCUUUUUSE me? And what’s with the exclamation point?

I re-read the response.

Well, EXCUUUUUSE me again! After trying to get Dave as upset as I was (never happen), I responded. “I asked to be removed because I realized most of it wasn’t any of my business. I didn’t know I needed to be in the group to ask for tickets. No worries.”

Still, I stewed, waiting for Haleigh’s apology. I would have to tell Jenn so she never again suggested someone be removed from Haleigh’s elite little group. Before making that call, our son Jeff dropped by our hotel room. I sought his empathy, a waste of time since that male apple didn’t fall too far from that uncompassionate tree. “Mom, that doesn’t sound like Haleigh. What number do you have?”

Not the right one, as it turned out. The one I used was for the group text which sent out an automated reply to people outside the group. When Jeff gave me Haleigh’s private number and I made the call to the right number, she couldn’t have been more helpful. Jeff wasn’t finished. “Wow, Mom, why did you assume the worst?”

Because I’m good at it would have been the honest answer. Of course, I didn’t say that. I attempted to defend my actions, in which case both the tree and the apple would have none of it.

Relationships have been ruined when assumptions are made. Someone doesn’t answer my email or is short-answered with a text reply or doesn’t invite me to their dinner party or…

Proverbs 25:8 (MSG) simplifies the way I am to think when my feelings are hurt: “Don’t jump to conclusions – there may be a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw.”

Otherwise, my assumption becomes my truth which leads to an ugly response which results in broken relationships…or, in one case, war.

Next week we will look at a Biblical example of how close that came to happening.

Obituary: Patricia Marylyn Layton

Submitted by Cheney Witt Funeral Home

Patricia Marylyn Layton, age 84, former resident of Fort Scott, Kan., died Wednesday, August 16, 2017, at Medicalodges of Girard, Kan.

She was born January 12, 1933, in Twin Oaks, Mo., the daughter of George Schwanz and Aline Wilkinson-Killion. She married Orville Layton, on July 1, 1963, in Fort Scott. He preceded her in death on September 9, 1980. She worked for Western Insurance Company for over 25 years and then Wal-Mart until her retirement. Pat enjoyed being outside working in the yard. She liked attending the Opry at Memorial Hall, bus trips with Citizens Bank, collecting doves, and reading Guidepost. She had a special place in her heart for her two dogs. In earlier years, she enjoyed traveling to threshing bees with her family. She was a member of the Grace Baptist Tabernacle.

Survivors include her children, Susan Thurman and husband Dan, Girard, Kan., and Kent Layton and wife Tiffany, Kansas City, Kan.; step-son Deryl Layton, Fort Scott; a brother, Clyde Killion, Fort Scott; three sisters, Cecilia Kramer, Barbara Freer, and Frances Bowles, all of Fort Scott; six grandchildren, Trinity Watkins, Hailey Watkins, Cody Layton, Ella Layton, Caleb Thurman and Ty Thurman; and numerous nieces and nephews. Besides her husband, she was preceded in death by a brother, David Schwanz, and her parents.

Rev. Paul Rooks will conduct funeral services at 2:30 p.m. Monday, August 21, at the Cheney Witt Chapel. Burial will follow in the Clarksburg Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 3 until 5 Sunday afternoon at the Chapel. Memorials are suggested to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital 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

New Pickleball Courts Provide Recreation for Fort Scott

A new sport is gaining traction in Fort Scott, as participants take advantage of new pickleball courts as well as an upcoming tournament to be hosted by the city.

During a meeting in November of 2016, the Fort Scott City Commission gave City Manager Dave Martin permission to move forward in repairing the tennis courts near the water treatment plant on Burke Street in order to build courts designed for pickleball, a sport similar to tennis but with slightly different rules while using a smaller paddle instead of a racket and a ball similar to a heavy waffle ball.

At the time of the decision last fall, Martin said he thought the request and the name of the sport was a joke, but upon research of the sport and requests from local players for an outdoor court to be built, the city and the Recreation Department worked together with help from private donors to fund the project, which was completed earlier this summer.

“It was in bad shape,” Fort Scott Parks Supervisor Todd Farrell said of the old tennis courts during a June city commission meeting. “And we’ve turned it into something great.”

Despite the odd name, pickleball is indeed a sport that is gaining players of all ages in Fort Scott and around the nation. Participants include young families as well as retired couples, playing outdoors at the new courts or indoors at Buck Run.

“I think it’s a nice family event,” Buck Run and Recreation Department Director Tom Robertson said of the sport, adding his own family uses the new courts frequently. “I think we’re fortunate that we were able to get that project…Those are really nice courts up there.”

The city will use those courts for a tournament Sept. 16-17, hosting events such as doubles, mixed doubles and men’s and women’s singles. Registry is required by Sept. 12, at $10 for the first event and $5 for any additional events. T-shirts will be given to participants and medals to the top three of each event.

“It’s an exciting thing to have something new in Fort Scott,” Robertson said.

Some of the local players have participated in, and even won, such tournaments in other towns such as Nevada. But with the new courts, Fort Scott is able to bring that event and other players into Fort Scott instead.

The tournament will host doubles events the Saturday of the tournament, beginning at 9 a.m. Singles events will be held starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Further information can be found in Buck Run’s fall brochure, to be released Friday.

Currently, groups most commonly play weekly at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Thursday evenings at about 7 p.m. and about 8 a.m. on Saturdays. Smaller groups often organize to play at other times during the week at their own convenience and according to their own skill level.

Residents interested in learning about the sport are encouraged to visit the new courts during one of those playing times.

Library to Host Book-Signing by Local Author

Submitted by the Fort Scott Public Library

Local author Carol Russell will have a book-signing along with readings from her new book, Brianna Meets Miss Addie, in the Fort Scott Public Library Events Room on Monday, August 21, from 2 to 4 p.m.

She will have copies of the book available for purchase for $9. While the book is written for kids ages 8-12, all are welcome to attend.

Mrs. Russell is a freelance writer and speaker. She and her husband, Bob, have been married for more than 55 years and reside in Kansas. They have three daughters, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. She has had many articles, devotions and children’s stories published.

FSCC Volleyball Team Receives AVCA Team Academic Award

For the sixth year in a row, the Fort Scott Community College Volleyball Team has received the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award. The team was also recognized as one of the top five teams in the two-year college division. The Lady Greyhounds finished the 2016-17 school year with a 3.62 grade point average (GPA).

“Every year, we set a goal focused on academics. I am extremely proud of the team for accomplishing their goal,” said Lindsay Hill, FSCC Head Volleyball Coach. “I appreciate the AVCA for rewarding programs whose philosophies emphasize academics.”

Twenty-one two-year colleges received the award for the 2016-17 school year. The AVCA recognized a total of 834 teams in the following divisions: NCAA DI, NCAA DII, NCAA DIII, NAIA, two-year college, NCCAA, collegiate men, high school girls, high school boys and college beach.

Since the 1992-93 academic year, the AVCA has honored collegiate and high school volleyball teams who displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team GPA on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale.

Obituary: Kenneth Dale Wright

Submitted by Cheney Witt Funeral Home

Kenneth Dale Wright, age 80, a resident of Overland Park, Kansas, died peacefully at his home Saturday, August 12, 2017.

He was born June 15, 1937, in Dade County, Mo., the son of Noble Sylvester Wright and Goldie Maywood “Maye” (Feezell) Wright. At an early age, Kenneth and his family moved to Fort Scott, Kan., where he graduated from Fort Scott Christian Heights. He married Evelyn Darlene Zeigler on January 22, 1972, in Mexico, Mo.

His printing career began at Witt Printing in El Dorado Springs, Mo., and included management positions at Mid-America Business Forms in Fort Scott and Vallis Wngroff Printing in Cherryvale, Kan. He later accepted a position as production manager for Herald and Banner Press in Overland Park and worked there over 40 years.

He loved quail and ‘coon hunting which provided many stories for his children and grandchildren. He was actively involved with Overland Christian Schools and Kansas Christian College where he enjoyed attending his children’s school and sporting events.  He faithfully attended the Overland Park Church of God (Holiness) and was willing to use his mechanical abilities to help the church, Herald and Banner, the school and other people in need.  He will be remembered for his quick wit, humor and common sense.

Survivors include his wife, Darlene, of the home; his son, Gregory Kenneth Wright and wife, Sharon; his daughter, Ashlee Suzanne Englund and husband, Eric; and his five grandchildren, Zachary Kenneth, Garrett Kole, and Tanner Kayden Wright; and Elina Anne and Elise Christine Englund, all of Overland Park. Also surviving are two brothers, Gary Wayne Wright and wife, Alma Jean, of Gardner, Kan., and Lawrence Nathan Wright and wife, Renee, of Overland Park; and three sisters, Melba Lorraine Hull of Grandview, Wash.; Betty Joyce Kelso and husband, Steve, of Fort Scott, Kan.; and Dorothy Ann Reynolds and husband, David, of Cincinnati, Ohio. He was preceded in death by his parents, Noble Sylvester and Goldie Maywood “Maye” Wright; three sisters, Kathryn Irene “Kathy” Harms, Charlotte Ruth Eichelberger, and Freda Maye Russell; and three brothers, James Kenton, Jerry Keith, and Noble Leon.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, August 19, at the Overland Park Church of God (Holiness), 6801 W. 74th Street, Overland Park, Kan. Burial will follow at 2:30 p.m. at Memory Gardens in Fort Scott, Kansas. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m., Friday evening at the church. Memorials are suggested to Herald and Banner Press and may be left in care of Cheney Witt Chapel, P.O. Box 347, Ft. Scott, KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at

Obituary: LaVerne Rose Reinecker

Submitted by Cheney Witt Funeral Home

LaVerne Rose Reinecker, age 81, a resident of Fort Scott, Kan., passed away Monday August 7, 2017, at the Mercy Hospital Fort Scott, Kan.

Laverne was born on July 6, 1936, in Paris, Ark., the daughter of George and Rose Marie Koch Bauer. She married Jerry Reinecker on July 27, 1957, in Kansas City, Mo., he preceded her in death on November 25, 2012. LaVerne was a member of the Mary Queen of Angels Catholic Church. She loved gardening and cooking, and was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother who truly loved taking care of her family.

Survivors include her three children, Joseph Reinecker and wife Debby of Fort Scott, Kan., Jann Rochefort and husband John of Warren, R.I. and Jill Gray of Fort Scott, Kan., four grandchildren, Bailey Lyons and husband Nate, Afton Hyer and husband Coy, Delane Gray and Fiancé Brady Godden, and Carlie Rochefort; four great grandchildren, Addison Lyons, Jhett Lyons, Jaxon Lyons and Blaise Hyer; three sisters, Mary Frances Gross, Lorene Kremer and Georgiana Boyle; and many nieces and nephews. She was also preceded in death by her parents, two sisters, Dorothy Murtha and Jeanne Tackett, and mother in-law Betty Reinecker.

Father Robert Wachter will conduct Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. Friday, August 18, 2017, at the Mary Queen of Angles Catholic Church. Burial will follow in the U.S. National Cemetery Fort Scott, Kan. The Rosary will be prayed at 9:30 a.m. Memorials are suggested to St. Mary’s Catholic School and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main St., P. O. Box 347, Fort Scott, KS. 66701. Words of Remembrance may be submitted to the online guest book at

Witness the Spectacular and Mysterious Solar Eclipse at Fort Scott NHS

Submitted by the Fort Scott National Historic Site

In 1918 the sun was out, then like magic it disappeared behind the moon, day turned to night and stars were visible in the sky. This crazy phenomenon was a Total Solar Eclipse which passed just to the south of Fort Scott. Now 99 years later, Fort Scott has the opportunity to see a similar total eclipse. The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse will pass across the continental U.S. and its complete totality will be within 100 miles of Fort Scott.

Fort Scott National Historic Site invites everyone to experience this momentous occasion with the Rangers on the Fort’s parade ground. Join us on Monday, August 21, as we watch the sun hide behind the moon. From 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., explore the science behind an eclipse, create your own eclipse, earn an Eclipse Junior Ranger Badge, learn about proper eye safety and much more! You might even consider having a moonlight lunch on the parade ground.

The moon will begin blocking the sun at about 11:45 a.m., with the eclipse ending around 2:30 p.m. The peak of the eclipse will occur at 1:05 p.m., when the sun will be almost completely covered. A limited supply of free protective eclipse glasses will be available to view the sun during the eclipse.

Never look directly into the sun, even during an eclipse. The sun’s rays can cause permanent damage to your eyes. When viewing the eclipse, you will need to use special eclipse glasses that have a specific solar filter; sun glasses will not work. Also, do not look through smart phones, cameras, telescopes or binoculars without the proper sun filters. For those not visiting the Fort on August 21, or to ensure you will have your own pair, eclipse glasses can be ordered online from several sources.

Call the Fort at 620-223- 0310 with questions about the event, or visit for more information about this eclipse.

Fort Scott High School to Audition for “Disney’s High School Musical”

Submitted by Angie Bin

The Fort Scott High School Drama Department announces auditions for “Disney’s High School Musical.”

Auditions are Aug. 29 and 31, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the FSHS music room and are open to FSHS students in 9th through 12thgrades. Students do not have to prepare anything in advance and should plan to attend on one night for the entire duration of the audition. Auditions consist of singing, dancing, acting exercises and cold readings from the script.

Performances are at 7 p.m. on Nov. 7, 9 and 11, and at 2 p.m. on Nov. 11, and rehearsals are held Monday through Thursday from 6:30-9 p.m.

In addition to performers, the Drama Department is seeking students interested in technical positions. These include:  stage management, lighting, sound, costuming, make-up, backstage crew and set construction and design.

The musical is directed by FSHS Drama and Thespian Director Angie Bin with music direction from Eugene Ware Music Teacher Mary Jo Harper. Taylor Schilling, a music education student at PSU, serves as the Assistant Music Director and Choreographer. The musical is published by Music Theatre International.


5 Corners Complex Celebrates Reopening after Storms

The 5 Corners complex celebrated their grand reopening Saturday morning after a March thunderstorm blew the roof off the building, leaving the businesses in need of repairs before they could return to their normal level of service.

Residents of the complex—which include the 5 Corners convenience store, Libation Station, State Farm offices, Car Help Mobile Mechanic, Nitro Promo and Haneline Products—told of their reactions to hearing the roof had blown off the building, most of it ending up in the parking lot. But despite the damage, 5 Corners and Libation Station owner Darcy Smith said the community turned out to help in the recovery process.

“The next day, we had all sorts of people here to help,” Smith said.

Since the complex never lost electricity entirely, 5 Corners was able to open the next day, but the Libation Station remained closed for two months while State Farm agent Kale Nelson was forced to change locations until the building was repaired.

Smith said some of those repairs included the new roof as well as ceilings, lighting, insulation and paint. But after more than five months of work, all the businesses are repaired and are fully open to the public once again.

“We are very excited for the complex to be reopened,” Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lindsay Madison said.

The Saturday festivities included food and drawings provided by the businesses and demonstrations by the State Highway Patrol.

KState Extension: Irises, Daylilies and Peonies – Now is the Time to Divide

Submitted by Krista Harding

School is starting this week for many area students and I feel like summer is winding down. I have enjoyed the cooler August temperatures and abundant rainfall! We have certainly not worried about drought stress in our area this year, which is always a plus in my books. As we head to the middle of August with our landscapes, it is time to divide plants and get them ready for the winter months ahead. Irises, daylilies and peonies are all very popular perennials and can be divided now.

Irises are usually divided in July and August. When dividing irises, it is best to look for a “double fan” – a large root with two leaf fans growing off of it. A plant with a double fan will bloom much quicker – possibly the year after planting.

Start by digging out all the iris and set them in a bucket of water to wash the soil from the roots and the rhizomes. Rhizomes are the thick, horizontal stems from which the roots grow and where buds are present. Healthy rhizomes should be blemish-free and no less than one-inch in diameter. Discard any sections that show signs of disease.

Use a sharp knife and cut off any sections of rhizomes without leaves or buds. The goal is to wind up with five- to seven-inch sections of healthy rhizomes with at least one good fan of leaves and two or more buds. Dip the knife in a bleach solution between cuts to prevent the spread of disease.

Plant the iris in soil ridges, 12 inches apart and in rows. Spread the roots on both sides of the soil ridge and then pat the soil around the roots. The soil should never cover the rhizome, but should hug the sides of it. Pat the roots in to keep the fans upright. Water immediately and continue to water until the plants are well established.

Daylilies need to be divided every three to four years to maintain vigor. Though they may be divided in early spring before growth starts, it is more common to divide them this time of year. Many gardeners will cut back the tops to about half their original height to make plants easier to handle.

A spading fork can be used to peel fans from the existing clump. If the plants have been in place for a long time, it may better to divide them by digging up the whole clump. Divide each clump to about the size of a head of cauliflower. Space divisions 24 to 30 inches apart and set each back to its original depth.

Peonies, on the other hand, may never need to be divided and may live 50 years or more without being disturbed. Peonies do not require regular division for successful blooming the way some other perennials do. Division can be done though, to increase the planting area or if the plants are growing poorly.

Division of peonies should be done after September 1, but early enough to give them plenty of time to get situated before the ground freezes. Here again, cutting the foliage back at ground level will help aid in easier handling. Each root division should have at least three to five “eyes.” The “eyes” actually look more like pink noses and are the shoots for the next season.

Peonies need to be set in a hole that is 18 inches deep and across. The hole should be refilled half way with a mix that is one part organic material and two parts soil. The eyes should be planted about one to two inches deep. If planted too deeply, the plant will produce foliage and no flowers.

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

FSCC Adult Education and GED Program Orientation Slated for Sept. 12

Submitted by Heather Browne

Fort Scott Community College will hold the next orientation for the Adult Education and GED Program on Tuesday, September 12. The program is eight weeks long and students may choose from three sessions: 9 a.m. to noon, 1 to 4 p.m., or 4 to 7 p.m.

“Through the program, students will work to complete GED modules including math, reading, science and social studies,” said Aubrey Duft, FSCC Adult Basic Education Instructor. “The classes also focus on college readiness, career readiness and technology.”

Adult education classes are open to students ages 16 and older. Students who are under 18 must have a Parental Waiver for Compulsory Attendance to attend class; the form can be obtained from the last school district the student attended.

The cost for the class is $30 and includes the ACCUPLACER college entrance exam, Northstar Digital Literacy Certification, WorkKeys Employment Skills Test, TABE assessment, and one GED Ready Practice Test. GED testing fees are not included.

The classes will take place in the FSCC Student Success Center, located in Bailey Hall, 2108 South Horton, Fort Scott. To enroll, please contact DeAnn Welch, FSCC Student Success Center Director, at 620-223-2700, ext. 4300.