Obituary: Linda June Harris Vann

Submitted by Cheney-Witt Funeral Home

Linda June Harris Vann, age 69, a resident of Fort Scott, Kans., went into glory to be with the Lord on Saturday, April 1, 2017.

She was born March 24, 1948, in Fort Scott, the daughter of Ray Hugh Harris and Cleta Mae Graham Harris.  Linda graduated from the Fort Scott High School in 1967.  Immediately out of high school, Linda began a career with Mercy Hospital. She started as an aide and later worked as a ward clerk.  She retired in March of 2010 after 43 years of service. She married Harry Glenn Vann on August 29, 1974, at Miami, Okla.  Linda enjoyed sports, reading, bowling, fishing and traveling. She was also an avid Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Chiefs fan.  She formerly attended the Mt. Olive Church of God in Christ and was currently a member of the Diamond Community Church.

Survivors include her three sons, Monty Vann, of Atlanta, Ga., and Gregory and Jonathan Vann, both of Fort Scott; four grandchildren, Elijah Wright, Ezekiel, Daniel and Violet Vann, all of Fort Scott.  Also surviving are three brothers, Leon Harris of New Mexico, Eugene Harris of Los Angeles, Calif., and Roger Harris of New York, N.Y.; and four sisters including her twin, Glenda Harris of Fort Scott, Deborah Nelson of Fort Scott, Rotena Gray of Denver, Colo., and Hattie Wright of Olathe, Kans.  Her husband, Glenn, preceded her in death on May 8, 2010.  She was also preceded in death by three brothers, William Graham, Buford Harris, and Donald Drake, and a sister, Phyllis Mason.

Elder Roger Harris, assisted by Rev. Jimmy Tucker, will conduct funeral services at 11 a.m., Wednesday, April 12, 2017, at the Cheney Witt Chapel.  Burial will follow in the Evergreen Cemetery.  Memorials are suggested to the Linda Vann Memorial Fund and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, P.O. Box 347, Fort Scott, KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at


Obituary: Valeta Myrtle Kerr

Submitted by Cheney-Witt Funeral Home

Valeta Myrtle Kerr, age 89, a resident of Ft. Scott, Kansas, passed away early Friday, April 7, 2017, at the Medicalodge of Ft. Scott.

She was born October 5, 1927, in Garden City, Mo., the daughter of Samuel and Myrtle King.  She first married Benjamin Hicks.  He preceded her in death, and she then married Forrest Kerr.  He also preceded her in death.  Valeta had worked as a receptionist for Social and Rehabilitation Services in Arkansas.  She enjoyed gardening and sewing.  She was a member of the Community Christian Church.

Survivors include a sons, Larry Hicks and wife, Jessie, of Fort Scott, Brent Kerr and wife, Leona, of Van Buren, Ark., Tom Kerr and wife, Deborah, of Excelsior Springs, Mo., and Jim Kerr and wife, Emily, of St. Louis, Mo.; a sister, Leota Bradford of Shawnee Mission, Kans.; and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren as well as several nieces and nephews.  In addition to her husbands, she was preceded in death by an infant son, David Hicks; two sisters and a brother.

Rev. Kevin Moyers will conduct funeral services at 10:30 a.m. Friday, April 14, at the Cheney Witt Chapel.  Burial will follow in the Evergreen Cemetery.  The family will receive friends on Friday from 10 a.m. until service time at the chapel.  Services are under the direction of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, Fort Scott, Kans.  Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at


School Board Approves Contract for New Eugene Ware Principal

During the executive session of their April meeting Monday evening, the Unified School District 234 Board of Education approved a contract with Stephanie Witt, naming her the principal for Eugene Ware for the 2017-18 school year.

Formerly a middle school instructional coach, Witt will take over the principal responsibilities in July, while current principal Dave Elliott’s contract expires in June.

“We’re excited to partner with her to help in every way possible to make that a great situation for our staff and students,” Superintendent Bob Beckham said of Witt’s upcoming year with the school district.

In February, the school board voted not to extend Elliott’s contract with the district. A number of parents and other members of the district spoke on his behalf during the March meeting.

Beckham expressed his fondness for Elliott and his years with the district, but had no comment on his upcoming departure after the current school year.

Witt’s brother-in-law and school board member, Jordan Witt, abstained from voting on the employment decision Monday evening.

Beckham also announced that the bond project continues to move forward at a good pace and is scheduled to be complete by July 4.

Kiwanis Host Easter Egg Hunt

The Fort Scott Kiwanis hosted their annual Easter egg hunt at Gunn Park Saturday, drawing a large number of children of a variety of ages who were able to leave with Easter eggs, candy and other prizes.

The event was sponsored by a number of local businesses including Marsha’s Deli, Fort Cinema, Walmart, Iron Star, McDonald’s, Landmark Bank and a number of others. The Easter bunny also made an appearance.

Further Easter event will be held this weekend, including the Eggstravaganza event to be held at Buck Run Community Center Saturday, April 15, providing a variety of games and activities. Those interested in participating are encouraged to register early with a $1 fee to make sure there will be sufficient supplies. Walgreens will also provide an opportunity for children to have their photos taken with the Easter bunny, with participants receiving a free 4×5 print.

Home and Garden Show Draws Crowds

The annual Home, Sport, Farm and Garden Show hosted by KOMB-FM drew in large numbers of people to visit booths set up by more than 60 vendors at the Arnold Arena at Fort Scott Community College.

Visitors were able to gather information of local businesses and organizations, such as The Butcher Block, the City of Fort Scott, Redbud Nurseries and Skitch’s Hauling and Excavation, among a large number of others. Drawings for prizes were also held throughout the day.

Simultaneously, FSCC held a children’s fair on campus, with students as well as others such as the Fort Scott police and fire departments participating in games and other events for the children.

County Commission Looks over Highway 69 Plans

During a work session held Wednesday morning, the Bourbon County Commission met with Kansas Department of Transportation employee Darrin Petrowsky to look over plans for the Highway 69 widening project and ask questions.

The commissioners looked at plans for the six-mile project in Bourbon County, specifically asking questions about new and existing access roads. Commissioners said they had received questions from residents asking if they would still be able to access or cross the highway at existing points, and Petrowsky said they would.

Commissioners also asked how those roads would be paved, with gravel or asphalt, since they will be given to the county for maintenance upon completion.

“Our major concern is what we’re going to have to maintain,” commission chairman Lynne Oharah said, pointing out the county may not have the funds to keep up with another asphalt road.

Petrowski said there is one section of access road that will be asphalt, due to its need for curbing and gutters to help with drainage. Petrowski said he would pass along the commissioners’ request for it to be gravel, but added he did not believe the plan could be changed.

“Anything’s better than what we have right now,” Oharah said of the overall project, saying he currently does not feel comfortable driving that highway at night.

Work has begun on the project, but Petrowsky said it has slowed because of the recent rains. The project is scheduled to be completed by Nov. 16, 2018, with cleaning, striping and other tasks fully completed by the following March. During that time, travelers should be alert to workers and shifting lanes, though two lanes will always be available.

“It’ll be a great highway for Bourbon County,” public works Director Jim Harris said.

Petrowsky said the continuation of the four lanes into Crawford County has been delayed indefinitely until the funding is available, despite the plans already being drawn.

Home, Sport, Farm and Garden Show Prepares for Visitors

Starting Friday evening, visitors to and residents of Bourbon County are encouraged to visit the Fort Scott Home, Sport, Farm and Garden Show hosted by KOMB-FM radio in the Arnold Arena at Fort Scott Community College.

“It’s a fun event,” Tim McKenney said during Thursday morning’s Chamber Coffee hosted at FSCC. “It’s a neat way for all these vendors to meet folks.”

The event has been held since the 1980s, with the broadcasting company running it for the past six years. McKenney said they are grateful to both FSCC and the City of Fort Scott for their support of the event that draws in hundreds of visitors.

This year, 63 vendors will be present, including local businesses such as Ruddick’s Furniture and Briggs Auto Group as well as other products such as Scentsy.

The show begins Friday, welcoming visitors 5-8 p.m., and will be open again Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A number of giveaways will be awarded at different booths throughout the weekend.

On Saturday, FSCC will simultaneously host a community children’s fair from 9 a.m. to noon, and will include a number of games and other activities such as a teddy bear clinic, a bounce house, carnival and minute-to-win-it games and hair styling by cosmetology students.

Gazaway to be Fort Scott Tourism Manager

During the Fort Scott City Commission meeting Tuesday evening, the city introduced the new tourism manager, Larry Gazaway.

Economic Development Director Rachel Pruitt said Gazaway, known as “The Voice of Fort Scott” through his local broadcasting career, described himself as a passionate person about arts and sports with extensive knowledge about the city and the county.

“We would be really hard-pressed to find anyone to match his skill set as well as his determination and knowledge for the county and city,” Pruitt said, adding he brings marketing experience as well. “We look forward to him being the voice of tourism and the face of Fort Scott, to lead us in a very important endeavor for the city.”

“I’m excited,” Gazaway said. “I just made one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make—leaving a job that I love, one that I had a great passion for—but I look forward to taking the passion that I have for this town, this community, and getting to market that to a very much larger area and hopefully bring some excitement to that.”

City Manager Dave Martin said Gazaway has a good relationship with the Fort Scott Area of Commerce and said he is a welcome addition to the city staff.

“Thank you very much for the opportunity and I promise I won’t disappoint you,” Gazaway said.

In recent months, the city leaders made the decision to move the tourism department away from the chamber of commerce and put it under the city’s direction. Gazaway is expected to begin working in the newly created position April 17, and is expected to move to an office at the chamber building after completing training at city hall.

Fort Scott News