Pete’s to build new store

In the next year, Fort Scott residents will have access to a new convenience store at the south end of town. According to Pete’s #14 owner Grant Spears, Pete’s has purchased the old Bailes Auto Sales building just north of the store and plans to expand into that area. “We’re going to build a new, modern convenience store facility just north of our existing store,” Spears said. Spears explained that the new building will cover 4,600 square feet and that the new filling station will contain 16 hoses for gasoline fueling and 2 hoses for “high-volume diesel fueling.”

Of the start date for work on the project, Spears said, “We’re hoping to get started as soon as possible, but no later than October 1st.”

Spears said that normal operations will go on during construction. “We will operate simultaneously and there will be very little disruption for our customers,” Spears said. “We hope to be open [in the new location] in the spring. That’s kind of our target.”

Chamber visits Mother to Mother Ministry

Umbrellas sprouted rapidly this morning as chamber members and visitors hurried into the building that now houses Mother to Mother Ministry. The building, which is located at 728 N. Heylman, was once a state of the art youth home, built to conserve energy and cut down on heating and cooling costs.

Wilma Leach, head of operations at Mother to Mother Ministry converses with Chamber Executive Director Lindsey Madison.

Ralph Carlson, Chairman of the Fort Scott Youth Home, explained that the building, which was constructed in the 1980s, is built in such a way that sunlight does not enter the windows during warmer months, but that during the winter, the design allows for sunlight to shine in. According to Carlson, the furnace hardly needs to run in the winter on sunny days. “It was really a state-of-the-art design,” Carlson said. “It is great that Mother to Mother is using it.”

Wilma Leach, who is in charge of Mother to Mother Ministries, reported that the ministry is in its 15th year. Leach explained that the ministry was begun with a grant from the Sisters of Mercy, and is now funded by the United Way and grant writing done during the year. Leach said that the ministry trusts in God in meeting its financial needs. “We have a lot of people come through our doors,” Leach said.

Another facet of the ministry is the support Mother to Mother provides for crisis management teams coming to Fort Scott from Pittsburg. Leach explained that the basement floor of the building is used for emergency housing for a victim of crisis and also as a place in which crisis management workers can counsel those in need.

In addition, Mother to Mother assists needy families by distributing clothing for children. “We give a lot clothes, we receive a lot of clothes [from donations],” Leach said. Mother to Mother ensures that children are able to attend school in nice, appropriate clothing for the season, according to Leach. Leach said that Mother to Mother often works with the Beacon to assist those that come for help, and that the working relationship has been a good one.

In other business:

  • City Manager Dave Martin announced that the sidewalk work on National would be temporarily suspended as the city focuses on the 69 corridor project, on which some work may begin as early as May 2014. “We worked with KDOT all day yesterday,” Martin said. “More than likely, we will not be adding the National upgrade until next year.” Martin said that there would likely be “lots of activity” going on in the city next year.
  • Angie Kemmerer, Early Childhood Coordinator for USD 234, announced the Community Resource Fair to be held this Saturday, August 10th. The event will be held from 10AM-2PM at Fort Scott Middle School. According to Kemmerer, the purpose of the event is to connect and acquaint residents with service providers and resources in the Fort Scott area. Numerous seminars on Healthy Living and Financial & Legal Affairs will be offered throughout the day. According to Chamber Executive Director Lindsey Madison, Angela Meyers of Reynolds Law firm was instrumental in organizing the seminars.
  • Madison announced that the city would be holding 3 more Art Crawl events August 23rd, September 27th, and October 25th.  Of the first Art Crawl held in July, Madison said, “It was a great success.”
  • Brian Comstock of Citizens Bank, N.A. announced that Citizens was “very excited” about the merger with Landmark. Comstock assured the community that operations would continue as before. “After the transition, you will see the same faces,” Comstock said. “Both our locations will continue to operate as usual.” Comstock explained that checks, debit cards and financing services would remain the same.


life+style offers community cooking expertise

When most residents of Southeast Kansas consider gourmet cooking opportunities, they may think these resources exist solely in urban areas such as Kansas City. However, life+style offers not only gourmet cooking supplies, but also cooking classes to allow area residents to hone their culinary skills.


We asked Jim Pitts and Cynthia McFarlin how they arrived at their business idea, and their reply shows a commitment to the historic area of downtown Fort Scott.

Pitts explained that as the couple traveled, they saw “a lot of kitchen/gourmet shops, and since Cynthia loves to cook it seemed like a good fit.” Pitts said that he and his wife chose the name “life+style” because of the “combination of essential and aesthetic,” and that both owners “believe that preparing and sharing good food with family and friends is more important than pretentious settings or exotic ingredients.”


In addition, life+style is also active in the community. Pitts said that the business holds cooking classes “pretty much every week during the fall/winter/spring and once a month during the summer.” Pitts remarked that it had been “delightful” to find a number of good cooks in the area, and that those cooks have been open about sharing their knowledge and cooking experiences with others.


Pitts said that past cooking classes have covered topics “from basic stocks to sushi to tailgate appetizers,” a fairly wide range of food items and cooking skills. Pitts mentioned that the cooking classes are limited to 10-12 seats, and that “reservations are required, and most of them sell out.” Pitts said a few pluses of the cooking classes are that they are held in a “casual, relaxed atmosphere and you get to eat the lesson.” In addition, the cooking classes attract people in a wide range of ages and with everything from “novices and veterans in the kitchen.” According to Pitts, life+style has added private classes in which friends or social groups can “get together and do something different.”

Regarding what life+style enjoys about being a downtown business, Pitts said “We love historic architecture” and that he is often able to refer customers to other downtown business, and that other business return the favor. Of the community, Pitts said that “We have been amazed by the generosity of the community” through life+style’s “involvement with organizations like the Beacon and Mother to Mother Ministries,” and that “Our regular customers have been very supportive.” Pitts explained that as he and his wife came from a large city, “it has been very rewarding to have [customers] voluntarily tell us ‘we’re glad you’re here,’” and that they have been able to meet people from “all over the world” because of their location adjacent to the Fort Scott National Historic Site.

Pitts and McFarlin have also renovated both the interior and exterior of their building at 22 N. Main. According to McFarlin, the antique wood floor that now covers the interior was taken out of the Lincoln School in Pittsburg, KS before it was demolished. McFarlin said that the floor was “new” compared with the building in which it now resides, even though the floor is mid-1920s vintage. McFarlin also mentioned that she and her husband had done quite a bit of work to the bay windows on the upper story of the building, replacing wood and metal that had rotten or rusted through over the years.

In addition to their cooking classes, life+style offers a wedding registry and gifts “for all occasions,” Pitts said. “In general, we like to remind everyone to Shop Local!” Pitts said. “We carry some terrific gourmet foods and are always ready to help you have a culinary adventure!”


Citizens Bank, N.A. Press Release on acquisition by Landmark





August 1, 2013

Landmark National Bank

Patrick L. Alexander, Chairman and CEO

(785) 565-2000

Citizens Bank, National Association

H. Dean Mann, Chairman

 (620) 223-1200


Landmark National Bank to Acquire Citizens Bank, National Association


Expands Landmark presence in eastern Kansas and adds approximately $195 million to assets

(Manhattan, KS, August 1, 2013) Landmark National Bank, the wholly owned bank subsidiary of Landmark Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: LARK) (“Landmark Bancorp”), and Citizens Bank, National Association (“Citizens Bank”) today jointly announced a definitive agreement under which Landmark National Bank will acquire Citizens Bank from First Capital Corporation (“First Capital”), the privately-held holding company of Citizens Bank.  The transaction will merge Citizens Bank into Landmark National Bank, increasing Landmark National Bank’s assets by approximately 30 percent and adding a sizeable customer base in several eastern Kansas communities. The transaction is subject to standard closing conditions, as well as the approval of the appropriate regulatory agencies.

Under the agreement, Landmark National Bank will pay an amount in cash to First Capital that will be determined at the time of closing based upon the deposit accounts and value of certain real estate held by Citizens Bank. Immediately prior to the transaction, Citizens Bank has agreed to distribute certain loans and other assets to First Capital, which will remain an independent entity following the transaction.  The acquisition is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter of 2013.

Landmark National Bank has approximately $640 million in assets as of June 30, 2013, and operates 22 locations in 17 communities across Kansas.  Citizens Bank operates eight locations in seven communities in eastern Kansas.  Landmark will be acquiring approximately $195 million in assets from Citizens Bank.  In addition, Landmark Bancorp, Inc. has agreed to assume the trust preferred security obligations of First Capital.

“We are very excited about this opportunity to expand Landmark’s strong presence across Kansas by adding Citizens Bank customers in several more communities in the eastern parts of our state. Clients of Citizens will find a high level of commitment from Landmark to serve their financial needs and to benefit the communities where we do business,” commented Patrick L. Alexander, Chairman and CEO of Landmark National Bank. “For Landmark, this transaction represents a significant step forward in a disciplined approach to building the scale of our banking franchise. We are adding value for our shareholders and for our bank customers across Kansas.”

H. Dean Mann, Chairman of Citizens Bank, stated, “We are pleased to be able to partner with a community-oriented institution like Landmark National Bank.  The community and customer focus for which Landmark is well known fits very nicely with the community banking services that Citizens Bank has delivered to its customers.  Landmark is a strong organization whose values, products and solid performance will allow our customers to continue to enjoy a great relationship with a Kansas-based, community-focused financial organization.”

Landmark Bancorp, the holding company for Landmark National Bank, is listed on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol “LARK.”  Headquartered in Manhattan, Kansas, Landmark National Bank is a community banking organization dedicated to providing quality financial and banking services.  Landmark National Bank has 22 locations in 17 communities across Kansas: Manhattan (2), Auburn, Dodge City (2), Fort Scott, Garden City, Great Bend (2), Hoisington, Junction City, LaCrosse, Lawrence (2), Louisburg, Osage City, Osawatomie, Paola, Topeka (2), Wamego and Wellsville, Kansas. Visit for more information.

Citizens Bank is the wholly owned subsidiary of First Capital Corporation, a privately-owned bank holding company headquartered in Fort Scott, Kansas.  Citizens Bank is a full-service community bank, offering a wide variety of loan products and savings deposits to its clients through its locations in Fort Scott, Iola, Kincaid, Lenexa, Mound City, Overland Park and Pittsburg, Kansas.

Special Note Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

This press release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 with respect to the financial condition, results of operations, plans, objectives, future performance and business of Landmark Bancorp, Inc. (the “Company”).  Forward-looking statements, which may be based upon beliefs, expectations and assumptions of the Company’s management and on information currently available to management, are generally identifiable by the use of words such as “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “plan,” “intend,” “estimate,” “may,” “will,” “would,” “could,” “should” or other similar expressions. Additionally, all statements in this press release, including forward-looking statements, speak only as of the date they are made, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update any statement in light of new information or future events.  A number of factors, many of which are beyond our ability to control or predict, could cause actual results to differ materially from those in our forward-looking statements.  These factors include, among others, the following: (i) the strength of the local and national economy; (ii) changes in state and federal laws, regulations and governmental policies concerning our general business; (iii) changes in technology and the ability to develop and maintain secure and reliable electronic systems; (iv) changes in interest rates and prepayment rates of our assets; (v) increased competition in the financial services sector and the inability to attract new customers; (vi) the economic impact of armed conflict or terrorist acts involving the United States; (vii) the loss of key executives or employees; (viii) changes in consumer spending; (ix) unexpected outcomes of existing or new litigation; (x) changes in accounting policies and practices; (xi) the ability to manage credit risk, forecast loan losses and maintain an adequate allowance for loan losses; (xii) declines in the value of our investment portfolio; (xiii) the ability to raise additional capital; and (xiv) declines in real estate values.  These risks and uncertainties should be considered in evaluating forward-looking statements, and undue reliance should not be placed on such statements.  Additional information concerning the Company and its business, including additional factors that could materially affect the Company’s financial results, is included in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Bourbon County designated Rural Opportunity Zone

As a result of recent Kansas State legislation, Bourbon County has been designated a Rural Opportunity Zone. The legislation creates opportunities for individuals who move to Bourbon County from out of state, including Kansas income tax exemption under certain qualifications and a set amount of college tuition reimbursement in participating counties. However, the availability of the latter half of the program will depend on Bourbon County’s decision to opt in or opt out of participation in Student Loan Assistance.

According to the Kansas Rural Opportunity Zone Program FY2012 Guidelines, an individual must have moved to Bourbon County by or after July 1, 2013 and before January 1, 2016, have lived outside of Kansas for 5 or more years immediately prior to application, and earned less than $10,000 from sources in Kansas in that 5 years. The applicant must also have lived in Bourbon County during the “entire taxable year” for which the individual has applied for credit.

In addition, the guidelines set down similar requirements for tuition reimbursement. However, potential applicants should note that Bourbon County has not yet opted in to this part of the program. Each county that is designated a Rural Opportunity Zone is allowed to decide whether or not it will participate in tuition reimbursement. If the county were to do so, applicants would be required to have established residence in Bourbon County on or after July 1, 2013, and prior to the county’s opt in for the Student Loan Repayment program. The applicant must also have completed an associates’ degree, bachelor’s degree before applying for the program, and have “a current outstanding student loan balance,” according to the guidelines.

According to city Economic Development Director Heather Griffith, the ROZ legislation benefits the area in that it “gives [workers] a little more incentive” to move to the area, and may help to “bring in a workforce we may not currently have.”

At the August 2nd Bourbon County Commissioners’ meeting, Craig VanWey, Regional Project Manager at the Kansas Department of Commerce, added his explanation of the ROZ program. “The focus of this program is to try and reverse some of the population decline in these counties,” VanWey said. VanWey explained that the original 50 counties that were designated ROZs were selected because they had experienced a “double digit period of decline” from 2000-2012.”There is a lot of interest from some of the surrounding counties,” VanWey said. VanWey also mentioned that 45% of the people enrolled in the student loan repayment portion of the program are in the healthcare and education fields.

VanWey explained that if the county were to opt in, it would need to set aside money to support its half of the reimbursement payment. “Most counties have opted in at either 1,500 to 6,000 per year,” VanWey said. He explained that the state had set aside funds to match every county’s investment up to $20,000. “We don’t see many counties give $20,000 per year,” VanWey said.

VanWey said that there exist three different ways to fund the student loan repayment: devoting county funds to ROZ program, garnering local employers’ contributions, and funding through individual donations. For county or donation funded repayments, the allocation is first come first serve, but if funded by an employer, that employer can “earmark who that money goes to,” VanWey said. VanWey explained that some companies are beginning to use the student loan repayment program as a recruiting tool to reach employees from outside their respective counties. “The employer sponsorship . . . is gaining traction,” VanWey said.

Of the perfect scenario for an applicant, VanWey said “This program is ultimately going to increase school enrollment, increase your tax base.” However, VanWey indicated that this was not always the case.

According to Greenwood County Economic Development Director Cindy Pereira, 4 people are currently enrolled in the tuition reimbursement program in Greenwood County, which has also been designated a Rural Opportunity Zone. In addition, Chris Harris of the Kansas Department of Commerce Business and Community Development Division reported that the state had received 912 applications total for the student loan repayment program, and that 518 of those had already been approved. Of the applications the state has received, Harris said the paperwork coming in had been “very consistent and very sustained.” Harris also mentioned that the applicant pool had not just been traditional college-aged students. “It’s been diverse,” Harris said. “1/4 of them were working in healthcare, another in education, another quarter in finance, engineering, manufacturing and agriculture.

Though the ROZ program is beneficial, it is not a quick fix for population decline.

When asked what kind of impact the program has had on ROZ communities, Harris said “It does take a while to see an impact. In these little communities . . . the impact increases in scale over time.” According to Harris, 68% of everyone who applies said that the ROZ was important to them in their decision to move to the community, and 300 of 912 applicants for tuition repayment have been out-of-state applicants. Harris also mentioned that the Department of Commerce has seen applicants from 40 different states, which indicates the program’s reach is beyond just the immediate area surrounding Kansas.


County deals with damage from recent rains

Several Bourbon County officials reported heavy damage to gravel roads in the area, especially in the southwestern portion of the county. Public Works Foreman Marty Pearson said that he is currently running 7 trucks to facilitate timely repair of the damaged roads. “I’ve got trucks running out of Hammond and trucks running out of the George quarry,” Pearson said.

Commission Chairman Allen Warren, who drove the roads recently, said “We’re better off than Crawford County,” which Warren explained had sustained significant water damage. Warren displayed several pictures of the damage to those present at the commissioners’ meeting, including some from Grand Road near the Blythe Ranch. Two 6 ft. culverts were overwhelmed by the influx of water from rainstorms this week. Part of the road visible in one photo showed erosion that had washed away part of the road. “That’s not a 1/2 inch of water that had eaten that out over there,” Warren said. “It’s running enough water across it that it’s taking all of the gravel with it.”



According to Warren, local resident Joe Ludlum reported that this was the first time he had seen water jump over the two large culverts under the road. “This is taking our gravel with it every time,” Warren said. Pearson pointed out that rocky soil near the area does not hold moisture, which contributes to the problem. “I have made an educated guess that we’re going to haul 10 loads of shot rock and gravel to fix it this time,” Warren said. “It’s really something, the damage it’s doing. The fence is right up against the road, so you really can’t get a ditch in there.” According to Warren, the landowner is willing to move back fences on either side of the road to allow the county easement in which to work. Warren said that the owner did not currently have cattle in the pastures adjacent to the road, and that this would be a good time to work on the road and ditches in that immediate area.

As a solution to the problem, Commissioner Harold Coleman and Warren suggested that Pearson put in an additional 6 ft. culvert to increase water flow under the road. Warren said to Coleman, “After I looked at it, I came to your conclusion–put another tube in there [to increase] capacity.”

Pearson reported that it would take 3-4 weeks to have a new culvert ordered and delivered to the county barn. “We can’t do anything immediately other than block [the road] off or put in more shot rock,” Warren said. We need to get it barricaded.” Pearson replied, “I had it fixed last week–it was about as bad last week.” Pearson and the commissioners agreed that the area needed to be repaired to allow safe travel for citizens while the culvert addition is in progress.

Of the expense of the culvert, both Warren and Pearson agreed that in the long run, the culvert was the most economical choice. “Once we know how many loads of gravel are taken and man hours are involved . . .” Warren said. “It’s going to be a lot more than a culvert,” Pearson agreed. Commissioner Barbara Albright agreed that fixing the issue permanently would be the correct course of action.”I don’t want to be two years from now having a lot of problems out there,” Albright said.

County Emergency Manager Terri Coop reported on the state’s assessment of the flood damage from the storm. “The state is asking for submission of cost on this flash flooding,” Coop said. Coop said that she and Pearson are working on numbers to submit to the state in order to ask for a disaster declaration from damages, “especially since we have 9 more days of it forecast,” Coop said. “We missed luckily what was forecast for today.”

In other business:

  • Peggy Hall requested that the county inspect the road at 1685 Indian Road to ensure the blacktop was not being weakened by water damage.
  • Undersheriff Bill Martin announced a going away reception for Sheriff Ron Gray, who has served in Bourbon County law enforcement for over 20 years. The reception will be held on the first floor of the courthouse from 2-4PM Thursday August 8th. According to the press release from the Sheriff’s office, the public is invited “to share memories or thoughts with Sheriff Gray.”
  • County Appraiser Judy Wallis brought 2014 budget information to the meeting. “I was able to lower overtime for personnel,” Wallis said. “Of course, we’ve paid most of the overtime when we were doing valuation notices at the beginning of the year.” Wallis also reported that she was able to lower the amount of overage for GIS/Mapping from $9,000 to $7,355, and office supplies from $5,000 to $4,000. “My biggest concern is the postage,” Wallis said. Wallis explained that her postage costs do not come out of the general fund, but instead have to be included in her budget. Wallis said that her office does plenty of mailing of valuation notices during the year.
  • County Treasurer Susan Quick brought 2013-2014 budget information in order to go over publication expenses. “I have $10,000 in my budget for publications in the Tribune,” Quick said. Quick mentioned that publication would be free for the rest of the year, which would reduce the expense. Warren pointed out that some of that money would still be needed in order to advertise for open county positions should they arise. Quick estimated that $2,500 had been spent so far, leaving $7,500 for the remainder of the year.
  • County Emergency Manager Terri Coop estimated that she would, barring an emergency situation, come in under budget for 2013. “Basically I see my budget coming in at about 10% under,” Coop said. Coop said that she had been able to “take a pretty big bite” out of contractual services for her department.



Citizens Bank, N.A. announces merger with Landmark

Citizens Bank, N.A., a prominent local financial institution, has announced its merger with Landmark National Bank, which is headquartered in Manhattan, KS. However, changes observed by customers, according to recent reports, should be minimal.

According to Becky Tourtillot, Director of Communication at Citizens Bank, N.A., the daily operations of the bank should remain fairly constant as compared with those before the merger, at least for the present. “At this point, we have a process to go through, which requires regulatory approval,” Tourtillot said. “For the current time, customers will not see any changes until that whole transition process is complete.”

According to Tourtillot, one factor that will allow daily operations to continue running smoothly involves the bank’s electronic operations. “We use the same vendor [as Landmark],” Tourtillot said. “That’s another reason we expect minimal disruption.”

Tourtillot said that once the transition is complete, the bank will operate under Landmark’s name.


Chief Judge suggests alternatives to alleviate jail overcrowding

Chief Judge Richard Smith met with Bourbon County Commissioners this morning to discuss alternative sentencing for inmates in specific cases, as well as courthouse security. Smith, who presides over Lynn, Miami and Bourbon County courts, brought suggestions and ideas to the table in order to help reduce overcrowding in the Southeast Kansas Regional Correctional Center (SEKRCC).

Smith commented that at one time, the SEKRCC had plenty of room, and people were farming out prisoners to be housed in Bourbon County’s jail. “It was a whole different ballgame,” Smith said.

“We’ve done some things in Lynn County to cut back” on costs involved in housing prisoners, Smith said.  “We have kind of an information screening, the jailer and the judge. If we think someone is a candidate for House arrest, we are doing electronic monitoring on some of those folks.”

Smith also mentioned use of the Owner Recognizance (O.R.) Bond, in which a defendant unable to produce a bond signs an agreement to appear in court. According to the Oklahoma County Court Services website, in the interest of public safety, only inmates whose history has been examined and who have been deemed eligible are able to obtain an O.R. Bond.

County Attorney Terri Johnson asked if Smith had written guidelines on the O.R .program and house arrest. Smith replied that he did have written guidelines in place for the O.R. program, but that the house arrest option for prisoners was decided on a case-by-case basis.

Smith said that the two main issues faced by the area are “substance abuse” and issues with cognitive decision making. “It is a problem, because here is the issue, to be blunt. What we need is programming for [inmates]. There really is an issue here about the number of interventions provided,” Smith said. “The problem is the lack of programming dollars . . . to help these people succeed.”

Smith also brought up recent legislation that has made a difference in violations in other states. Kansas House Bill 2170 allows for a change in the incarceration process in certain cases. According to the summary of legislation for the bill, if a defendant waives the right to a hearing and the court has not “specifically withheld the authority of court services,” the defendant may be put in prison immediately by a probation officer or other court services authority for a short term of 2-3 days, but may only be held 6 days total per month in a 3 month period if incarcerated under this process. Smith said that this practice had been used successfully in other states. “The effect in Georgia and North Carolina was a radical drop in jail time,” Smith said. “It’s the immediacy of reprimand,” Commissioner Barbara Albright said.

In addition, Smith discussed courthouse security  with the commissioners during a 30 minute executive session. Commissioner Harold Coleman moved to go into executive session with Chief Judge Richard Smith, County Attorney Terri Johnson, Undersheriff Bill Martin and the commissioners present. No action was taken.

“It’s really the public that’s the concern,” Smith said of courthouse security. Everyone talks about the criminal cases—that’s not the problem. It really isn’t.” Smith explained that more routine type of cases, such as divorce cases, could cause a security concern. The remainder of the conversation concerning security matters was held the executive session.

In other business:

  • Joey Collins reported that pavement on 205th Street had been damaged by heavy equipment. Collins said that a silver dually truck pulling a trailer had unloaded a rubber-mounted piece of heavy equipment onto the freshly paved road, in the process cutting through the newly deposited asphalt. Citing a message from Public Works Foreman Marty Pearson, Albright said, “The ramps of the backhoe trailer cut into the asphalt about a ½ inc. For right now they are going to try to patch it in the spots.”
  • Frank Miller came to talk to the commissioners about Daryl Brown signing tickets on his account at the landfill. As long as it’s Miller’s bill, he can sign,” Commission Chairman Allen Warren said.
  • Commissioners considered bids for a vehicle for the County Road and Bridge Director/Coordinator, who will start work for the county August 12th. Bids received for the vehicle were submitted from a Pittsburg-area dealership which bid $28,381, and from Shepherd Team Auto Plaza, which bid $28,337 for a 2013 GMC Sierra. Warren moved to accept the low bid from Shepherd Team Auto Plaza.
  • County Attorney Terri Johnson brought a revised version of the agreement from Wray Roofing to the meeting. “I suggest to you that we wait,” Johnson said of signing the contract. Johnson said that the current contract price reflects sales tax. County Clerk Kendell Mason said that she had filed to the state for tax exemption on the roofing work, and that she was still waiting to receive the exemption.
  • County Emergency Manager Terri Coop reported on storm damages from July 29th. “We have about 200 miles of gravel road severely damaged,” Coop said. “I didn’t see any specific bridges that were structurally damaged.” However, Coop did say that bridges had collected debris. That’s where all Marty’s gravel is—on the bridges,” Coop joked. Coop said that KDEM (Kansas Division of Emergency Management) had asked if the county were going to file to the state concerning the damages. Coop has been working to start the process, and asked commissioners to pass a resolution to start the process on a damage declaration report. Commissioners approved Resolution 23-13 to start the process.Coop also reported that her budget would be coming in, “barring emergency,” between 5-8% below the amount allotted for 2013. 



City to hold Sales Tax Holiday

August 2nd-4th the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a Sales Tax Holiday to promote shopping at local businesses. Customers will benefit from an 8.65% discount up to a purchase of $300 on merchandise. Businesses participating in the event include the following local retailers:

  • Bartelsmeyer Jewelry
  • Bids & Dibs
  • Common Ground Coffee Co.
  • Country Cupboard
  • Everything Pets
  • Flowers by Leanna
  • Iron Star Antiques & Such
  • J&W Sports Shop
  • life+style
  • Main Street Gallery and Gifts
  • Miss Jamie’s Sweet Treats and More
  • Radio Shack
  • Redbud Farms & Nurseries
  • Ruddick’s Furniture
  • Sekan Occasion Shops
  • Shirt Shack
  • Vintage Junk Trunk

Niece Products voices need for high-speed internet

Conversation at this morning’s Chamber Coffee at Niece Products of Kansas revealed another Fort Scott company’s request for fast, reliable internet services on the business level. Al Niece, founder and president of Niece Products of Kansas, NIEMCO and Niece Equipment, explained that the company often sends products overseas and conducts business on the web.

Niece Products of Kansas Operations Manager/Partner Pat Flanagan and Crystal Mattox of UMB Bank  conduct the Chamber meeting.

“There’s a 20,000 gallon tank out here going to the Ivory Coast,” Neice said. Neice went on to say that the company will be sending two of these tanks to the Ivory Coast, and another two to Australia. Pat Flanagan, Operations Manager/Partner at Niece Products of Kansas, said the company’s tanker trucks are “rolling service stations,” and that the products are used for a variety of services in construction, but that they are also used to help fight fires. Flanagan also mentioned that a plan was in the works to offer rental of equipment “to service the  Midwest.”

The announcements from Niece and Flanagan revealed that the company is forward-thinking with regard to technology, and actively involved in the community. “We hire a bunch of high school kids during the summer,” Flanagan said. Niece added that the company has hired several college students at a Texas location to work on electronic versions of blueprints. “These younger guys and gals just fly through this stuff,” Niece said.

Flanagan spoke of the company’s need for high-speed internet to effectively conduct business operations and allow the company to grow, and City Manager Dave Martin stepped forward in agreement. “High-speed internet,” Martin said, “is the key to moving this community forward. We are making efforts to try to get this.” Flanagan added that though the city is leading the efforts to obtain high-speed internet for the city, it will take the involvement of the entire community to attract an internet service provider that offers these services. “If we work and plan to show them this is a viable market, they’ll come,” Flanagan said.

Matt Casner of RedLogic Communications, Inc. and Fort Scott Economic Development Director Heather Griffiths converse before the start of a tour.

In other news:

  • J.D. Ettore, Athletic Director at Fort Scott Community College, announced that athletes for several sports would be reporting in soon, “which means my summer is over,” Ettore joked, but clarified that he was happy to see the students returning for the upcoming semester. Ettore mentioned that Greyhound Athletics would be selling season passes, which are available at Ettore’s office in the Arnold Arena building.
  • Dr. Clayton Tatro, President of Fort Scott Community College, announced that the college would be holding tours of the college facilities for community members. “It’s not our college, it’s the county’s college,” Tatro said, inviting the community to come and view their “Return on Investment” in the college. Tatro said that tours would be held at 4:30PM and 7:00PM on Wednesday August 7th, and again on August 8th. In addition, Tatro announced the addition of a walking/running trail to Ellis Park, which makes the community’s total investment in the park $250,000.
  • Matt Casner of Redlogic Communications, Inc. announced the addition of Red Team Racing to his company’s operations. Red Team Racing times foot races with disposable time chips to more efficiently keep track of runners’ times. “We are working right now with Mercy,” Casner said, explaining that the company will be timing the Mercy Days 5K and Half Marathon runs in September.