Veterans Honored With Grand Ball

Photo submitted by Dee Young of  2016 Labor Day Grand Ball.

U.S. military veterans can enjoy a dance, show off their uniform, or if they can’t fit in that uniform anymore, show off the medals earned while serving their country.  For veterans, the dance, a semi-formal ball, is free of charge.

Memorial Hall, 1 East Third, will be the venue for that dance to honor military veterans in a unique way on November 11 from 7 to 10:30 p.m.

Friends of Fort Scott National Historic Site (FFSNHS )decided to have a second ball, following the Labor Day Grand Ball they facilitated last year in honor of the centennial of the National Park Service.

“Everybody had a great time,” Dee Young, member of the Friends group, said of the ball last year. “People asked ‘When is the next one?'”

That began Young thinking about another event, this one to honor vets. She brought the idea to the Friends board, who decided a ball was a great way to honor veterans, she said.

Veterans who wear their uniform or bring military identification of some sort, a ribbon or medal, for example,  will get in for free.

Since the theme of Fort Scott National Historic Site is looking at life at the fort on the prairie in the 1840s, other attendees are encouraged to wear appropriate period clothing to the ball. Or, alternately semi-formal party wear may be worn.

Sweet and savory refreshments will be served and all proceeds go to the FFSNHS organization.

Don’t know how to dance like people in the 1840s?

1800s style dance lessons will be offered for free from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. the day of the event, November 11, at the fort, in the Grand Hall.  Street clothes are appropriate for the dance lessons, Young said.

Submitted by Dee Young. Last year’s Labor Day Celebration Grand Ball.

Tickets for the ball: general public$20 in advance/$25 at the door per person or two for $30 in advance/$40 at the door;  FFSNHS members$15 in advance/$20 at the door; and children 12 and under and dance observers$5. 

All proceeds go to the Friends of Fort Scott National Historic Site.

Each year the Friends of Fort Scott National Historic Site provide a meal for the citizens following the U.S. Naturalization Ceremony on the grounds of the fort, they also serve ice cream at the fort’s Independence Day celebration and provide educational programs throughout the year as well.

Other 2017 activities the FFSNHS group helped with: the Native Neighbors event, a  Fort Scott Community Foundation grant to help with the 175th anniversary of the fort,  a grant for youth engagement at the fort through an Irby Family grant, a Sunflower Castle Home Tour, a Candlelight Tour in December, the Friends Fest 2017, Dancing With Our Stars 2017,Every Kid In A Park Grant,  and drinks during the solar eclipse.

Candlelight Tour

Tomorrow is the first day that tickets for the annual Candlelight Tour at Fort Scott National Historic Site go on sale. Tickets should be purchased early for choice of times. Usually, all tickets sell out, according to the fort’s website. This year’s tours will be offered December 1 and 2. Tours on December 1, will begin at 6:30 p.m. and go every 15 minutes until 9 p.m. On Saturday, December 2, the tours will run from 5 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 620-223-0310 or by coming to the visitor center at the fort. The fort is located at the north end of downtown Fort Scott. Tickets are $8. each and are non-refundable. Children 5 and under are free.

Mercy Hospice Donates Park Benches

Submitted by Mercy Hospital

Groundbreaking for new memorial benches in Riverfront Park was Oct. 26.  From left: Chad Brown, City of Fort Scott public works director; Deb Needleman, City of Fort Scott human resources manager; JoLynne Mitchell, City of Fort Scott mayor; Allen Warren, Riverfront Authority board member; Becky Davied, Mercy director of home health and hospice; and Chris Welch, Mercy home health and hospice community relations coordinator.


Mercy Hospice is celebrating its fifth year anniversary with a special thank you to the community and all those who have allowed the hospice care team into their lives.

To commemorate the anniversary, Mercy Hospice is giving back to the community by placing a pair of memorial benches on a paver patio at the Riverfront Park just north of Fort Scott.

“We hope that this can be a place where families can gather to remember their loved ones,” said Chris Welch, Mercy Home Health and Hospice community relations coordinator.

To launch the project, a groundbreaking ceremony was held on Thursday, Oct. 26.

“This wouldn’t be possible without cooperation from the City of Fort Scott, the Riverfront Authority and partial funding by the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation,” Welch added.




New Pastors, New Wing At Fort Scott Nazarene Church


Tyler and Megan Allen show the new Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene’s children’s wing just completed in September. There are a “cat-walk” area, a multi-story slide and sensory room for special needs kids in the room.

Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene has a heart for youth according to its new youth pastor, Tyler Allen.

In January the church members hired  Allen and his wife, Megan Allen. Megan is the children’s pastor at the church.

Tyler grew up in Parsons, while Megan hales from Stark City, Mo.

They have been in ministry in western Kansas and Ava, Mo. for the last five years.

In September Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene completed a new children’s wing.

Megan Allen stands near the front desk of the new children’s wing of Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene.
The new children’s wing of Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene, completed in September is located on the south side of the church. The church is located at 1728 S. Horton.

“We have a sensory room to accommodate special needs children,” Megan said.

There is a children’s ministry for pre-school through sixth grade on Wednesday nights, she said.

In September Club 56 was launched for 5th and 6th-grade students.

On Sunday mornings the 5th and 6th-graders are part of the kid’s leadership team in children’s church, she said.

“They are helping with technology and lead worship and help younger kids,” Megan said.

Additionally, Tyler has an area specifically for teens, 7th through 12th grade, to meet.

Tyler Allen stands in the worship area of the teen ministry room at Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene.

A college ministry meets once a week at the church as well.

“Fort Scott Nazarene as a church has a vision for kids and teens and their families,” Tyler said.

Lead Pastor Virgil Peck.

The church also received a new lead pastor, Virgil Peck, in July 2016.

“I got a call,” Peck said. “We were looking for a community to allow our kids a place to grow up.”

Peck was a youth pastor for 15 years.

He and wife, Lisa, have two children, Hannah, 11 years-old and Trenton, 13.

The Peck’s spent four years in Carthage, Mo. and nine years in Iowa before coming to Fort Scott.

Peck was born in Fort Scott and still has a lot of relations here, he said.

Other ministries of the church:

The church organized and facilitates the Common Ground Coffee Company, 116 S. Main, in downtown Fort Scott.

Celebrate Recovery meets weekly at the church.

Jeff Dillow has been the worship and administrative pastor for five years.

For more information contact the church at 620-223-0131 or

The worship center at Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene.
The welcome sign at Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene.
Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene, 1728 Horton.


KState Southwind Extension: Deer Hunting Program

Submitted by Christopher Petty

Are you a deer hunter? Do you have land that you want to attract deer onto? If the answer is yes, then join us for an informational meeting on deer management for landowners.

Hi, this is Christopher Petty, Livestock Production and Forage Management Extension Agent for the Southwind District of K-State Research and Extension. I would like to invite you to attend this meeting on November 16, beginning with a meal at 6 p.m. at Coburn’s Kitchen in Stark, Kan.

The program will feature Kansas State University Extension Wildlife Specialist Charlie Lee, and will focus on habitat evaluation, food plots, feed supplements, diseases and antler growth.

A $10 fee payable to Colburn’s Kitchen will cover meals and materials. Space is limited, so call now to pre-register at the Southwind District – Erie Office at 620-244- 3826, that’s 620-244-3826.

Schooling at home

USD 234 Director of Curriculum Nicki Traul, looks over a computer a student turned in.


Additional options are what Nicki Traul, USD 234 director of curriculum says is a good reason to offer school classes at home for students.

“Students for all reasons; medical, parent choice, multiple reasons find that a brick-and-mortar school isn’t for them,” Traul said. “High school isn’t a good fit for everyone.”

One example Traul gave is supporting a student who had surgery and wasn’t able to attend school, she said.

USD 234 started offering home-school options to junior and senior high students one year ago.

The school district initially looked at home-school options for students who failed a course and had to retake it, she said.

“I had worked at Greenbush (Southeast Kansas Education Service Center), and had a background in virtual learning,” Traul said.

But lest students think this is an easy way out of not having to attend classes at school, Traul says this option is not for everyone.

“You have to be disciplined,” she said. “You have to put in 30 hours per week and at least six classes…about the same as a brick-and-morter school. You can be truant if not putting hours into the school work. ”

“We meet with the student and parents,” Traul said. “I want them to fully understand it’s not easy. They have to be self-driven.”

During an initial orientation, students learn “all the ins and outs of the system,” she said.

Full-time students are provided with a computer on which to do assignments, with internet service to be provided by the student.

The computer is turned in at the end of the year, she said.

The district uses a state-approved system, Edgenuity, which has teachers instructing a lesson.

Edgenuity is a  provider of K-12 online and blended learning solutions including online courses, credit recovery, intervention, and test preparation, according to its’ website.

The system is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, she said.

Parents and students can meet with Traul at any point in the year.

A part of the program is letting students know if “they are on track or behind” in progress during the semester, she said.

Students must pay high school fees that other students are required to pay.

Funding for the initiative is from the U.S. Department of Education, rural and low-income school program.




Patty LaRoche: Overlooking a Wrong

Being wronged is never easy, no matter how menial the offense, because the chance to demonstrate our faith is always on the line. “I’m right, and you’re not” lurks like a caged animal desperate to escape. Because of my trust in Google Maps, I was in that cage last week.

Dave and I chose a four-star, Chinese restaurant—obviously so-ranked by starving reviewers– that, although eight miles out of the way, promised a grand buffet worth the drive. Clue one this wasn’t a popular restaurant was the lone car in the parking lot which, as it turned out, belonged to the hwc (hostess/waitress/cook). Multi-tasking at its finest. The menu wasn’t extensive—there was no buffet—but it had several chicken dishes, so I asked which ones had white meat. Simple question.

In her thick, Chinese accent, our hwc mentioned three, with General Tso being one. To avoid any language barrier, I spoke slowly. “General-Tso-is-white-meat?” She assured me it was. “Not-pressed- chicken-but- real-white-meat?” Yes, it was. Dave gave me his look which let me know I’d gone too far. In his opinion, we should not be fussy in a restaurant. Even if he asks for a hamburger well done and it arrives mooing and swatting flies, he won’t complain. If I, on the other hand, ask to speak to the management, he skedaddles for the bathroom.

While our entrees were being prepared, our hwc refilled three times the three sips we had drunk from our water glasses, brought Dave chopsticks and repeatedly asked if we would recommend the hot and sour soup to our friends. She was desperate and I felt sorry for her. I said I would.

But I won’t.

When our food arrived, Dave’s shrimp fried rice looked scrumptious. My “chicken” was a crusty shell encasing a pea-size portion of dark meat. DARK—white’s opposite. I munched on the two broccoli pieces and the rice, and because we were the only customers and our hwc was trying so hard, I opted to say nothing. I know. Shock! Shock! “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” I’m sure I heard angels applauding. Or perhaps it was Dave.

No, it had to be angels.

When our check was presented and my chicken leftovers removed from the table, I was flabbergasted by what came next from our hwc: “Why you order General Tso since you say you like white meat? Next time you come, you need order white meat.” Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

While I decided if what my heart was meditating on should stay there or be uncaged, Dave hastily pulled out his wallet, paid the bill and reminded me that we were in a hurry. (We weren’t.) I knew I had a choice. I could be honest and help this poor lady not make the same mistake in the future with someone less loving, or I could make Dave happy and remain silent. I opted to please my husband. After all, it was a long ride home. Too, when it came down to it, it could have been worse.

At least my chicken wasn’t mooing and swatting flies.

Obituary: Kenneth Don Cook

Submitted by Cheney Witt Funeral Home

Kenneth Don Cook, age 56, a resident of Fort Scott, died at his home Thursday, October 26, 2017.

He was born May 10, 1961, in Kansas City, Kan., the son of Don Cook and Linda Ingle Cook. He attended J.C. Harmon High School in Kansas City, Kan. He Married Debra J. Austin on December 31, 1998, in Randolph, Mo. Together Kenneth and Debra operated KDC Transportation. He loved to watch NHRA drag racing and working on cars and trucks. Kenneth loved spending time playing with his grandchildren.

Survivors include his wife, Debra, of the home; two sons, Stuart Lee Cook, Fulton, Kan., and Steven Louis Cook, Mound City, Kan.; four daughters, Stephanie Ann Pritchard Varner, Bartlesville, Okla., Jennifer Colleen Pritchard Bresee, Kirbyville, Mo., Jessica Joann Coolidge Wells, and Stephanie Lynn Cook Spangler, both of Fort Scott; his mother, Linda Ingle Main, Olathe, Kan.; grandmother, Regina Keeton Ingle; two sisters, Sandra “Sandy” Cook Mather, Olathe, Kan., Melissa “Missy” Cook Courtright, Gardner, Kan.; 17 grandchildren, as well as many nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles. He was preceded in death by his father; grandparents, Oliver L. Ingle, Minnie Belle Cook, and John Thomas Cook.

There was cremation. A celebration of life will be held 2 p.m. Monday, October 30, 2017, at the Cheney Witt Chapel. The family will receive friends from 1 p.m. until service time Monday at the chapel. Memorials are suggested to Kenneth Cook Memorial Fund and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, PO Box 347, 201 S. Main, Ft. Scott, KS 66701.  Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at

Brewery Is Coming

The Boiler Room Brewhaus will be located in the Beaux Arts Center, 102 S. National.

Barbara and Bryan Ritter are turning a  homebrew hobby into a business.

“Over the past year several people have mentioned that we should do this,” Barbara said. “We brew beer at home and enjoy it. So we decided to go for it.”

Barbara Ritter did research and found that microbreweries are opening in small historic towns, she said.

The Ritter’s are leasing the southwest corner of the Beaux Art Center’s basement from owners, Bobby and Denise Duncan.

“We envision that it will bring in people to Fort Scott,”  she said. “They will see these old buildings and start putting money back into this amazing town. We see the brewery as bringing in new tourists.”

Bryan and Barbara Ritter hope to have a microbrewery open by years end.

Bryan Ritter will be the primary brewer.

“It will be craft beer, part of it from the water from Fort Scott Lake and the Marmaton River,” Bryan said. “The other part of the beer is grain and hops. Hops are what gives it flavor.”

The Ritters found a hops farm in Ottawa and other ingredients will be locally resourced, he said.

They will use honey from their farm in producing the beer, along with wildflowers, fruit, and nuts.

The Ritter’s have owned Black Dog Farm, near Garland, for five years.

So far in the process, city, county, and federal approval have been given the Ritters.

“The state has visited the premise,” Bryan said. “A few more things they need to receive from us. Then we can start the brewery.”

Because beer takes time to ferment, it will have to cook for a few months, he said.

“We are hoping around Christmas or New Years to be open,” Bryan said.

Fort Scott Commemorates 175th Anniversary during 36th Annual Candlelight Tour

Submitted by Fort Scott National Historic Site

“Life has a positive and negative side. Happy people ignore the negative side” Bangambiki Habyarimana

One hundred seventy-five years ago, soldiers established a fort atop a bluff overlooking the Marmaton River. Its purpose was to keep peace on the frontier and to contain westward expansion. To patrol the frontier, the army stationed dragoon and infantry soldiers at Fort Scott. These soldiers faced the challenges of boredom, isolation, the uncertainty of life on the frontier and the vast distances involved in patrolling the region. Nevertheless, they found ways to celebrate life and to make the best of their situation. They remained vigilant in their duties yet took time out to enjoy dances, dinner parties, evening socials, and camaraderie. They found a reason to celebrate at Christmas time, the 4th of July, and other occasions. Although isolated on the frontier, they sought excellence as they built “the Crack Post of the Frontier.”

Fort Scott National Historic Site will celebrate its 175th anniversary by presenting its 36th annual Candlelight Tour. The theme for this year’s candlelight tour is Happiness Amid Hardship. The tour will feature five scenes from the 1840s at Fort Scott, the years that it was an active military fort. Traditionally, the site’s candlelight tour has been “ghosted,” meaning that the reenactors in the scene do not interact with or even recognize the people on the tour. This year, Fort Scott staff is changing things up so that there is some audience participation in most of the scenes. Visitors might join in dancing at the dragoon barracks, participate in an evening social at the officers’ quarters, or discuss at the sutler store the reasons why they are going to become Oregon pioneers.

During the candlelight tour, over 700 candle lanterns illuminate the site and over 100 reenactors bring the fort to life. This year’s tours will be offered December 1 and 2, 2017. Tours on December 1, will begin at 6:30 p.m. and go every 15 minutes until 9 p.m. On Saturday, December 2, the tours will run from 5 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Ticket sales begin on November 1. You can purchase tickets by calling 620-223-0310 or by coming to the visitor center at Fort Scott NHS. Be sure to get your tickets early for your choice of tour times as this event usually sells out. Tickets are $8.00 each and are non-refundable. Children 5 and under are free.

From November 1 to March 31, Fort Scott National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service, will be open for its winter hours of operation from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. For more information about the candlelight tour or other events at the site, call 620-223-0310 or visit our website at

Halloween On Horton

Community Christian Church and Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene are partnering this year to produce “Halloween on Horton” on October 31.

“We are partnering to do advertising on social media about both churches doing something the same evening,”  Paul Martin, children’s pastor at CCC, said.

“We thought, let’s promote it together,” Jeff Dillow, associate pastor at the Nazarene church, said.

The CCC event is from 5 to 8 p.m., the Nazarene event is from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Halloween evening. Both the churches are located on Horton Street near Fort Scott Community College.

“This is the sixth year we’ve done it on-site,” Dillow said. “A small army gets involved that night.”

Susan Lemon heads up the Nazarene volunteers, Dillow said.

“We want to take the opportunity to let our community know we care about them and their families,” Dillow said.

The Nazarene Church will have their Trunk or Treat event in its parking lot, at the corner of 18th and Horton Streets.


Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene, at the corner of 18th and Horton Streets.

Community Christian Church has been doing a Halloween event since Martin came, in the late 1990s.

Community Christian Church, across from Fort Scott Community College on Horton Street.

At first, they did a trick-or-treat event but when the church went through a fall sermon series in 2008, the event changed, he said.

“We were going through a fall series called 40 Days Of Community by Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California,” Martin said. “We wanted to pull more people from the church to serve. We added more food and inflatables.” They changed the name of the event to Fall-O-Ween at this point.

The church staff and volunteers work with Martin each year to plan and facilitate the event.

“It’s an opportunity to love on the community and provide a safe place on Halloween evening,” Martin said.

“We would love to have people be a part of both events,” Dillow said. “You could easily fill a night of trick-or-treating between both.”

Check out the events on Facebook: Fort Scott Nazarene and  Community Christian Church.

KState Southwind Extension: First Impressions

Submitted by Carla Nemecek, Southwind Extension District Director 

All communities have difficulties viewing their surrounding as others – customers, visitors, potential residents and potential businesses – see them. Our views are skewed by over-familiarization, a lack of differing perspectives, expectations and a reluctance to be completely honest with our neighbors when dealing with difficult issues, such as the appearance of buildings, customer service and the maintenance of public facilities.

Next month, a group of volunteers from Iola will be traveling to Baldwin City, Kan., to participate in a program offered by K-State Research and Extension called “First Impressions.” Likewise, a team from Baldwin City will travel to Iola to gather their First Impressions of our city.

With First Impressions, a team of volunteers from other towns makes an unannounced visit to a participating community to explore its residential, retail and industrial areas, plus schools, government locations and points of interest. The idea is to take a look at a community with a fresh pair of eyes.

Whether in one’s own home or community, it’s easy to pass by something without thinking about how it looks to others. For the first-time visitor, is the drive into town welcoming? Is there something unique that may help draw people to shop? Does it strike them as a community they would like to return to? Sometimes strengths are taken for granted, and weaknesses are accepted as part of the norm.

First Impressions is an effort to strengthen Kansas communities and is made possible by a partnership started in 2015 between K-State Research and Extension, the Kansas PRIDE Program and the Dane G. Hansen Foundation. Once completed, the assessment helps drive goal-setting and priorities for new development, plus identifies ways to strengthen community services.

What’s next? After the two visits, a K-State Research and Extension Specialist will compile the results from each team. Those findings will be shared locally in the form of a community meeting that will likely be conducted after the first of the year. Details will be shared through local media outlets to make the program available to anyone interested.

I look forward to facilitating and participating with the Iola Team and working with the City of Iola. However, readers should be know that this program is offered by K-State Research & Extension and open to any Kansas Community, regardless of size. If another town in Bourbon, Neosho or Allen County sees the benefit of First Impressions, please do not hesitate to contact me by calling Southwind Iola at 620-365-2242.