Inaugural Wine Stroll Draws Crowd

Almost 250 people participated in Fort Scott’s first Hit the Bricks Wine Stroll Friday night, as local and out-of-town wineries displayed their wares and gave samples to ticket-holders walking along downtown Fort Scott.

The event hosted not just wineries from other cities such as Overland Park, Topeka and Parsons, but also provided a venue for local artists to show and sell their art. Food vendors were also there. The evening also included live music with the weekly Friday night concert and ended with a performance by country artist Blane Howard.

About 135 people registered early while a steady stream of others purchased tickets that evening. Profits from the ticket sales benefited the Mercy Health Foundation of Fort Scott.

Scavenger Hunt and Selfie Contest to be held at Fort Scott NHS

Submitted by the Fort Scott National Historic Site

Join in the fun at the Old Fort before it is time to go back to school. Fort Scott NHS announces its first-ever “Selfie” contest, going on now. You can win $50 just for snapping a picture of yourself at the Fort. Also coming up, the Fort is holding its second annual Scavenger Hunt; new and improved and twice as much fun as last year. The Scavenger Hunt takes place on Saturday, August 5 at 1 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for the first and second place teams.

2016 Scavenger Hunt

The Fort Scott NHS Youth Engagement Team has created a brand new “Selfie Station” on the second floor of the Dragoon barracks, complete with frontier era costumes. Using Instagram, take your selfie there in costume for a chance to win the 1st Place prize of $50. If dressing up isn’t your thing, you can still take a selfie anywhere on the Old Fort grounds without the costumes. Non-costume selfies are eligible to win a $25 prize. Either way, be sure to submit your selfie to Instagram, tag @fortscottnhs in the caption, and include the hashtag #fortscottselfiecontest2017. The winner of the Selfie Contest will be announced at the conclusion of the Scavenger Hunt on August 5, although winners do not need to be present to win.

Be sure to join in the exciting and family friendly Old Fort Scavenger Hunt as a last hurrah of summer. The Hunt will begin at 1 p.m. and end at 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 5, 2017. All participants are encouraged to show up 10 minutes early with their cell phone or camera. Contestants will be given a list of clues directing them to certain items that tell a story about the rich history of the site. Participants will then take photos of the corresponding items. The winning team/individual will receive a $50 gift card, with $25 awarded to the second place finishers.

This fun event is being hosted by the Youth Engagement Team at Fort Scott National Historic Site in partnership with the Friends of the Fort. Thanks go to the Friends of the Fort for sponsoring the prizes. Call the Fort, 620-223- 0310, with questions or for more information.

A Multi-Sensory Playground for Fort Scott

“Build a new playground at the Mercy of Frank Halsey”

Presented by The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team

Underwritten by Janet Irby Braun and Family

The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team, as part of Fort Scott Community Visioning, is sponsoring a community event on Saturday, August 19, at Liberty Theatre to honor local community champion, Frank Halsey, for his grass roots initiative to build mountain biking and hiking trails.  While not alone in his efforts, his leadership demonstrates how one person can be an agent of change, engage community members, and increase awareness of healthy lifestyle. Environmental challenges tend to be strongest in low-income communities and community perception results show that Bourbon County is no different.

In addition, the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team has partnered with the Youth Activities Team to seek additional resources and construct a Multi-Sensory Playground that will be accessible by all youth, regardless of ability, and meet therapeutic needs for children with special needs. The children and families in our community could benefit from safe, inclusive, places to play. An inclusive recreation area is desperately needed in the Fort Scott area.

Currently we have families in our community who are forced to drive 45 miles to the nearest adaptive park. One of many families personally impacted is that of Matt and Cherie Witt, the parents of a 6-year-old son with autism spectrum disorder with significant sensory needs. They have shared their story:

We want to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves and explain why we believe an all-inclusive playground with adaptations for children with special needs would provide a much-needed asset to our community. Prior to the birth of our child and his subsequent diagnosis, we were not unsympathetic, but, nevertheless, highly uninformed of the vast number of children with special needs in our community and the lack of resources available to them. In the four years since our diagnosis, we have learned much and now realize to a far greater extent the struggles of parents of children with exceptionalities to find healthy and appropriate recreational activities for their children. Our children, much like their typically developing peers, want and need to simply have fun. There is no better environment for these children to thrive than playing alongside their typical peers. It is our understanding that this park would promote inclusion of all types of children with varying needs rather than separating them by ability or physical skill.  

Our home town of Fort Scott, Kan., is a small community with many children with special needs but few resources to engage them. As parents of a son with autism, we realize the financial burdens that come with the territory. Many times, parents feel pressure, and rightly so, to direct financial resources toward the many types of therapy our children require, leaving little for recreation. Furthermore, we have many low-income families dealing with these sorts of problems whose children do not have access to opportunities for fun activities. Moreover, Fort Scott has an exceptionally high rate of children with autism. For these young people, a means to meet sensory issues is essential for them to learn, develop and cope with life. An adaptive playground would serve children in each of these categories. We would love to see all these children laughing, playing and socializing the same as their typical peers.

Recent studies have shown that as a society, we tend to place disproportionate emphasis on academics over physical activity for very young children, much to their detriment. Many believe the result is a lack of social skills such as sharing and turn-taking and an increase in sensory issues. Active, free play is an invaluable learning experience. Maneuvering the environment with its variances in terrain and experiencing all the sights, sounds and feelings of the great outdoors fully engages the senses. These experiences may be even more important for children with special needs who, depending on their diagnosis, may already be at a social or physical disadvantage. A play area constructed with these children in mind, would give them a chance to spread their wings and strengthen their minds and bodies in ways otherwise impossible. 

There is no better investment than one in our youth. We believe that children with special needs can become active, responsible members of our community. We would love to see them benefit from a safe, friendly environment to promote the life skills they will need to live a productive life and have a little fun at the same time.

You can show your support and purchase your tax-deductible tickets online at or at the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce 231 E. Wall Street Fort Scott, KS 66701. Ticket are $50 each.

Patty LaRoche: Why Me, Lord?

I am organizing my funeral. Not that I plan on dying soon, but one never knows. As of today, there remain many undecideds: cremation, burial, or cremation with burial; who should be the lucky heir to my needlepoint tea towels; and who will give my eulogy and make me sound nicer than I am. (Children need not apply.) For every checked off item, I add two more.

Right now, I’m focused on music. Previously I had made my song list in the “Notes” section of my phone, but three weeks ago all of my 146 notes were deleted. Not even the backup Clouds APP could find them. Nor could the techie at the Apple store. So, I’m starting over.

I remember two songs from the original list. “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban and “Why Me, Lord?” by I don’t know who…which brings me to yesterday when I spent some time in the APP music store listening to different versions and singers. Ross King had a song by that name, but its lyrics were entirely different…and not funeral appropriate. Still, I loved its honky-tonk tune and bought it. I plan to learn it on my guitar. Not to play at my funeral, of course. That would be weird.

King’s words are a great reminder of what should matter. See if you agree.

My Lexus just ran out of gas; my iPod needs new songs.

My cellphone battery is dead.

Oh, why me Lord? Why you done me wrong?

My suntan salon just closed down; my summer glow is gone.

And the kid who cleans my pool just quit.

Oh, why me, Lord? Why you done me wrong?

There’s people starving in Africa; there’s War in the Middle East.

But I’m a rich dude in suburbia who could use a little sympathy.

My grande-no-whip-mocha-latte is way too strong.

Oh, why me, Lord? Why you done me wrong?

I’ve got 150 channels on my tv, but I think I need a hundred more.

Got a world of entertainment on the internet.

But I’m still bored. Why me, Lord?

My backed-up credit card’s maxed out; can’t remember what I spent it on.

So, I guess I have to settle for the medium fries.

Oh, why me, Lord? Why you done me wrong?

There’s homeless families in New Orleans, soldiers dying on a foreign shore.

But I’m a rich dude living in luxury who could use a little something more.

There’s white trash folks in my country club, and they really don’t belong.

Oh, why me, Lord? Why you done me wrong?

Yea, I think I’ll write a letter to my Congressman, maybe send him a tape of this song.

He’s probably in his big old mansion right now.

Sayin’ “Why me, Lord? Why you done me wrong?”

Yea, I care about the people in Africa, and I’m praying for the Middle East.

But I’m a rich dude out in suburbia who could use a little sympathy.

So, don’t forget my grande-no-way-mocha-latte is way too strong.

Oh, why me, Lord? Why you done me wrong?

Why me, Lord? Why you done me wrong?

So, Readers, the more I think about it, maybe this version should be included at my funeral. Chances are, it would be one no one would ever forget.

Community Foundation to Accept Grand Applications in August

The Fort Scott Area Community Foundation is thrilled to announce that the amount of grants available for the upcoming 2017/2018 cycle totals $30,000, exceeding last year’s total by $9,000.

2016 Grant Recipients

Thanks to the generosity of all who contributed to the FSACF general fund, the interest accrued will allow the grant committee more opportunities to benefit the 501(c)3 applicants who meet the qualifications.

Monies granted to the 12 beneficiaries from last year’s cycle were used for a variety of causes, including helping to purchase a 3D mammography machine for Mercy Hospital, providing benefits to cancer patients, assisting families in purchasing swimming pool passes, and funding classes for CASA volunteers.

The FSACF 2017 Grant Applications will be released on Tuesday, August 1, at which time they will appear on the FSACF website or may be picked up in person at the Chamber of Commerce, 231 E. Wall. Nonprofits such as churches, governmental entities, or organizations with a 501(c)3 status are encouraged to apply.

Applications are due by Tuesday, August 29. Acceptance and declination letters will be mailed on Tuesday, October 24. Grants will be awarded at the Foundation’s Chamber Coffee held in the Landmark Bank lobby at Third and Main at 8 A.M. on Thursday, November 2.

Hit the Bricks Tickets Still Available

Submitted by Tina Rockhold, Mercy Hospital

Organizers of this Friday’s inaugural Hit the Bricks Wine Stroll, Art Walk and Blane Howard concert say tickets are still available. Add in a weather forecast that predict temperatures in the mid 80s and it’s a perfect combination for a night in downtown Fort Scott.

The Hit the Bricks event kicks off at 5 p.m. and has something for everyone to enjoy. Main Street will be blocked between 1st and 2nd streets for the event from early afternoon until about 8:30 p.m.

The regularly scheduled Friday night music at the pavilion will continue as usual.

The free art walk, coordinated by the Bourbon County Arts Council, is open to the public. Over 15 artists from near and far will fill the sidewalks of Main Street with their artwork and have items for sale. Food vendors will have items for sale as well.

The wine stroll check in begins at 5 p.m. at the Beaux Arts Centre located at 102 S. National.

During the stroll, pre-registered participants or those 21 years and older (valid ID required) who purchase a $25 wrist band at the Beaux Arts Centre that evening may have a maximum of 15 samples of wines from the six featured Kansas vineyards including Fort Scott’s very own Vinedo del Alamo. Other wineries and vineyards participating in the stroll include Aubrey Vineyards, Overland Park; Flustered Blonde Vineyard and Winery, Parsons; Fuga Winery, Waverly; Smoky Hill Vineyard and Winery, Topeka; and Vogel Family Vineyards, Galena.

Wineries will also have unopened bottles of wine available for purchase.

Cost for the wine stroll is $25 and includes a commemorative wine glass and tote bag for bottled wine purchases.

The Fort Scott trolley will be available in 30-minute intervals to transport participants from the check–in location to Main Street between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Beginning at 8:30, music lovers can dance the night away with a concert by Nashville-based country music sensation Blane Howard at Liberty Theatre. Concert tickets are $35 each. Tickets will also be available at the door that evening. Seating for the concert is general admission.

Advance tickets for the stroll and concert are strongly recommended. Patrons can save $10 if they purchase both the wine stroll and concert tickets for $50.

Tickets are available online at

Proceeds from the Hit the Bricks event will benefit the Mercy Health Foundation Fort Scott, a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation which supports programming and equipment at Mercy Hospital Fort Scott. For more details about the Hit the Bricks Wine Stroll, Art Walk and Blane Howard Concert, call the Mercy Health Foundation office at 620-223- 8094.

Obituary: Raymond Dean O’Dell

Submitted by Cheney Witt Funeral Home

Raymond Dean O’Dell, age 87, a resident of Fort Scott, Kan., passed away Wednesday, July 26, 2017, at the Mercy Hospital Emergency Room in Fort Scott.

He was born November 13, 1929, in Bourbon County, Kan., the son of Albert Milton O’Dell and Anna Mabel Carpenter O’Dell. He married Ruby May Larson on August 30, 1948, at Fort Scott. Ray worked as the produce manager for Whiteside’s IGA for forty-five years. Following his retirement, he operated his own lawn care business. Ray enjoyed playing the guitar and singing. In earlier years, he played in a band that often performed at the Eagles Lodge and area communities. He was a member of the Emmanuel Baptist Church.

Survivors include his four children, Rick O’Dell and wife, Amy, of Carthage, Mo., Deborah Graham and husband, David, of Orange Beach, Ala., Marquita Lamer and husband, Raymond, of Kansas City, Mo., and Dion O’Dell and wife, Holly, of Joplin, Mo.; several grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. His wife, Ruby, preceded him in death on September 26, 2013. He was also preceded in death by two brothers, Merlin O’Dell and George Carpenter, and three sisters, Naomi Wise, Pearl Kellogg and Audrey Wise.

Pastor Larry Stevicks will conduct funeral services at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 29, at the Cheney Witt Chapel. Burial will follow in the White Cemetery near Richards, Mo. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Cheney Witt Chapel. Memorials are suggested to the Emmanuel Baptist Church and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, P.O. Box 347, Ft. Scott, KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at

CrossFit Gym Sees Improvements

Previously named CrossFit Fort Scott, the local fitness gym celebrated remodeling, new management and a name change with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning as Smallville CrossFit.

Aaron and Lindsey Watts took over the gym at 13 S. National Avenue, in June after the previous owners moved out of town. Since that time, the couple has led sports and strength conditioning courses for children and high school and college through the summer, even while the gym went through a series of renovations to improve its services.

“It’s a dream come true for us,” Lindsey said, adding they appreciated the help of their family and friends who assisted them. “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

The changes made to the gym improved not just the appearance of the gym, but also the equipment, such as by adding ropes, rings and additional ceiling- and wall-mounted rigs. There is also more space for larger classes.

Aaron, who grew up in Southeast Kansas, said he was always involved in sports and athletics as a student and later during his time in the military, which led to his involvement in CrossFit and eventually owning the Fort Scott gym.

Aaron added their inspiration for the new name of the gym came from the nickname of Clark Kent that he picked up while in the military.

City Manager Dave Martin, a member at the gym, encourages others to try out Smallville CrossFit or one of the other fitness centers in Fort Scott as they continue to partner with the county in the Healthy Bourbon County program. Martin added people should not be intimidated by the CrossFit program.

“They will make it fit what you can do,” Martin said, saying they will modify exercises for individual people and their abilities. “Come and give it a try and you might find something you like.”

The gym will host a Grand Reopening event Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., allowing visitors to come for information on classes as well as to watch a variety of classes to see what they look like.

Fort Scott Hurricanes Take Second in League

Fort Scott Hurricanes took second place in the league swim meet with 1049 points to Chanute’s 1065.5. Independence came in 3rd with 505.5 points followed by Coffeyville 274.50, Iola 154.50, Erie 92, and Humbolt with 72 points.

Full results from each event
Individual scores

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County Prioritizes Road Repairs

With the county’s asphalt program nearing completion, the Bourbon County Commission and Public Works Director Jim Harris discussed Tuesday morning which roads would be worked on next in the county.

The commissioners created a list of about 18 miles of road in need of a chip and seal, and then moved 11 miles of those roads to the top of the to-do list, based on the traffic and condition of the road. Harris said he believes they have enough funds budgeted to complete those roads and then reconvene to decide if they have finances remaining to do the others.

Some of the roads to be worked on first include three miles of road near the lake, Maple Road near Uniontown, Jayhawk Road east of Highway 69, 125th Street between Osage and Range roads and Highway 10 towards 55th Street.

“We’ll get it done,” Harris said of the projects assigned to his crew.

Some of the lower priority roads not completed this year could be done in 2018, though commissioners said Industrial Park roads will be a big project to be done next year.

Obituary: Thomas Marvin Heter

Submitted by Cheney Witt Funeral Home

Thomas Marvin Heter, of Garland, Kan., passed away peacefully on July 20, 2017. He was 79 years old.

Tom will be remembered for his passion, intelligence and his love of art, photography and music. An excellent musician who performed on guitar, keyboards and vocals, Tom’s record collection ran into the thousands. Since the 1960s, his and Jean’s home has been a hub for folk, jazz and blues musicians. Tom was also gifted as a visual artist, specializing in 35 millimeter black and white photography. Working as a professional photographer he took special pride in the printmaking process, which he mastered in his kitchen darkroom.

Tom is survived by his wife of 46 years, Jean Heter, and by his two children, Annette and Storm. Tom is survived by his siblings David, Charles, Gracie and Steve. He was a proud grandfather and great grandfather.

On Monday, July 23, at noon, a memorial service will be held at Cheney-Witt funeral chapel, Fort Scott, Kan. Services were under the direction of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, Fort Scott, Kan.

Youth County Fair: 2017

After months of preparation and the hard work of a number of leaders, volunteers, parents and youth, the Bourbon County Fair came to a close Saturday after a week of festivities at the fairgrounds in Fort Scott.

“It was the smoothest running fair of my extension career,” Extension Agent Christopher Petty said. “This wouldn’t be possible without the tremendous volunteer support from the community. I want to thank each and every person who helped out in any way.”

About 150 youth and children of Bourbon County participated in events that displayed their skill in more than 1,100 exhibits showing animals, cooking, gardening, sewing, photography and a number of other activities displaying their creativity and hard work over the past year.

The fair provided not just an opportunity for participants to display those talents, but also to receive criticism and compete while learning how to demonstrate good-sportsmanship whether they won or lost, receiving good reviews or poor.

Check the Facebook page here to see more photos taken of those students who participated throughout the week.