FSNHS Summer Student Intern Positions Available Feb. 4

Fort Scott National Historic Site will begin recruiting for a GS-05 Park Ranger (Student Trainee) temporary position Monday, February 4 for the summer of 2019 as part of the National Park Service’s Pathways Program. Additional positions will be announced later this spring.

The Park Ranger intern will assist the Division of Interpretation and Resource Management with leading our YCC and youth outreach programs. They will present talks, answer questions, guide small groups and provide orientation services to park visitors. The interns will also participate in maintenance and resource management projects, as well as working closely with park staff on critical special initiatives including website development, social media, and special events.

In order to be eligible for an appointment under the Pathways Internship Program you must be a current a student who has been accepted for enrollment or is enrolled at least half-time in an accredited high school, college, professional, technical, vocational, or trade school pursuing a qualifying degree or certificate. To maintain eligibility for internships individuals must remain enrolled in a degree or certificate program throughout their appointment. Additional information on the Pathways Internship Program can be found at: www.usajobs.gov/Help/working-in-government/unique-hiring-paths/students

The GS-05 park rangers earn 16.10 per hour, generally works full-time 40-hour week, and is entitled to paid holidays. Holiday, evening, and weekend work is required. A driver’s license is recommended.

This position is expected to start in early May and end in September. Application information can be found at: www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/522940700. The advertisement closes February 11, 2019.

For more information about the park in general, contact Fort Scott NHS at (620) 223-0310 or visit our website at www.nps.gov/fosc.


Public Survey on Drone Usage

Public encouraged to take a survey on statewide drone usage

The Kansas Department of Transportation’s (KDOT) Division of Aviation is seeking public opinion on the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) or drones in Kansas airspace.


Individuals of all ages, occupations and backgrounds are encouraged to participate in the 10-question online survey available at https://www.ippkansas.org/ks-uas-ipp-survey until Feb. 28.


Through the survey, KDOT hopes to gain a better understanding of the public’s familiarity and opinion on UAS use scenarios to drive operations for the Kansas UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP).


This federally-initiated program will help tackle the most significant challenges to integrating drones into the national airspace and will reduce risks to public safety and security. The Kansas team is focused on efforts in Long Line Linear Infrastructure Inspection (i.e. highways, railroads, energy distribution lines, etc.) and Precision Agriculture. IPP partners include state universities, Kansas UAS joint task force members and industry leaders. For a full list visit: www.ippkansas.org/partners.


KDOT is currently conducting UAS test flights in the airspace north of Gypsum and over partner right-of-way infrastructure and partner-owned land. These operations will support a Phase II safety case that will include Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations.


About Kansas UAS IPP
KDOT is one of only 10 national leaders conducting advanced UAS operations to guide future rule-making that will result in access to new technologies for the nation. The IPP is the result of a 2017 Presidential Memorandum issued to the U.S. Department of Transportation.


FSCC Cosmetology Offering Free Haircuts To Elementary Students

Fort Scott Community College School of Cosmetology wants to give a little help to the local elementary kids by offering free haircuts to eligible students. With the permission from their parents, students can participate in the free haircuts, which will take place the 1st of each month, through April.

We are excited to partner with the schools and help out however we can. We enjoy being a part of the community, especially in this way”, Courtney Goucher, FSCC Cosmetology Instructor.

There is a permission form to participate in this event, which can be obtained from the area elementary school(s). Any questions regarding the event can be directed to Courtney Goucher at [email protected].

Fort Scott Emergency Room Gap In Service: Area ER’s Will Be Utilized

Mercy Hospital Fort Scott signed an agreement with Ascension Via Christi to provide equipment and furnishings for emergency room services.

Mercy Hospital’s President Reta Baker signed an agreement with Ascension Via Christi on Jan. 27 to provide emergency room services at the hospital that ends for Mercy today, Jan. 31.

“It is an agreement that Mercy will provide lease space and provide the necessary equipment and furnishings to provide the services of an emergency room,” Baker said.

The Mercy Emergency Room waiting area, January 2019.

One issue: there is a gap between the Mercy closing date and when Via Christi will get regulatory approval to provide emergency room services.

“Before Via Christi can operate ER services in this setting and building, they have to have a license from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment,” Baker said. “It takes time. It has steps…I think all the parties engaged will work as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

She is estimating a few weeks, but it could be more, she said.

Baker said the ambulance service will take patients to area emergency rooms in the meantime.

“If they call 911, they will take the patient to the closest appropriate ER,” Baker said. “Or if a person wants to take themselves, they could choose which ER they can go to. Pittsburg, Girard, Nevada, Iola, Olathe, Overland Park…all the ER’s are aware of the need.”

The Mercy ambulance service continues under Mercy operation until April 1, then Bourbon County will become the owners, she said.

Reta Baker. Courtesy photo.

Baker also addressed the following questions:

What about the hospital pharmacy?

“The pharmacy will continue to operate under Mercy until April 1, then operate under the Community Health Center.”


“Mammography is under CHC.”


“Radiology will be available under Via Christi.”

The administration wing of the hospital will be a Mercy hub work-site, Baker said. “There will be 15 employees working out of the building. (They will have)An assortment of responsibilities to support the business functions of Mercy Regional .”

The patient room wing of the hospital has been partitioned off to prevent the public from entering the area, she said.

Even though it is a sad time, it is an exciting one, she said.

“It’s an exciting new opportunity,” Baker said. “And a new model of care for the community.


Gas Service Is Working to Restore Service at Burke and Osbun

Kansas Gas Service is working to restore natural gas service to customers impacted by a natural gas outage in the 900 block of Burke and Osbun in Fort Scott.

The outage is a result of a third-party damage that caused water to enter a natural gas main in the area, causing freezing conditions around regulators.

“The third-party contractor was not doing work on our behalf,” said Dawn Tripp, Kansas Gas Service Manager of Public Relations.

Reports of outages began on Wednesday, January 30, and services are being restored.

Technicians are on site monitoring and working. Customers should call 888-482-4950 if they are experiencing issues with their natural gas service.

“We’re working as safely and quickly as possible,” Tripp said.

As a reminder, if any customer suspects a natural gas leak, they should leave the area immediately, then call 911 and the Kansas Gas Service emergency line at 888-482-4950.


Senator Hilderbrand’s Weekly Newsletter

State senator Richard Hilderbrand 13th district

communications from the state capitol

January 25, 2019∙ Week Two


  • Aviation in Kansas has a $20.6 billion economic impact and is responsible for 91,300 jobs (Topeka Capital-Journal).
  • Governor Kelly’s plan to re-amortize KPERS would free up $160 million for spending now, but would cost taxpayers more than $7 billion over the next 30 years (Topeka Capital-Journal).
  • According to the Kansas Department of Labor, Kansas’ December unemployment rate was 3.3% compared to the 3.9% national rate (Department of Labor).

Kansas Day – January 29               

On January 29, 1861, Kansas became the 34th state.  Explore the state’s early history with the Kansas History database from the State Library, which covers the Territorial period through the Civil War.  Find a wide variety of personal narratives, letters, maps, speeches, and photos. Use Browse to scroll through the topics, Search, or click on one of five broad categories for an overview of the early Kansas years.  Educators: each of the five categories includes an essay with corresponding primary source documents.


If the page above asks for a Kansas Library eCard number, you may get one at any library in Kansas.  Most people will be automatically recognized as being in Kansas and will not need this step.   Questions: [email protected] or 785-296-3296.


On Tuesday, the Senate Ways & Means Committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 9, which would transfer $115 million from the state general fund (SGF) to the Kansas public employee retirement system (KPERS). One hundred percent of the payment would be applied to the public-school group, a group that carries the largest unfunded liability. Ways & Means heard from Executive Director of KPERS, Alan Conroy, who explained to the committee that not making the payment, would cause an increase of $630,000 to the unfunded liability/interest expense monthly. Making the payment would result in meeting the actuarial required payment for the first time in 25 years.

In 2018, the Legislature opted to postpone the payment, to see what future revenues produced. Kansas revenues ended FY18 with $317 million more than expected. This left the approved ending balance at $905 million. I am proud to be one of eighteen Republican senators who have signed on to sponsor SB 9.


Despite the freezing rain, hundreds of people gathered at the Statehouse Tuesday to participate in the annual Kansas March for Life. Many gathered due to the anticipated ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court that would say the constitution provides a right to an abortion.

Following the march there was a rally on the first floor of the Statehouse that was attended by marchers, activists, and pro-life legislators. Senate President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) spoke at Tuesday’s rally. “We have a strong pro-life majority in both the House and the Senate,” Wagle said. “We do have an activist Supreme Court. They are highly likely to come down with a decision that is anti-life.”

Tuesday’s march and rally took place on the 46th anniversary of the Roe V. Wade decision.


Monday –

  • Update on: Transportation Task Force – [Senate Ways sand Means Committee; January 28 at 10:30 am]
  • Presentation on: Education by the Numbers, Kansas Board of Regents, Kansas Technical Colleges, Kansas Independent College Association, Kansas Association of Community College Trustees – [Senate Education Committee; January 28 at 1:30 pm]

Tuesday –

  • Presentation on: “The Kansas Outlook” by Jeremy Hill, Director, Center for Economic Development and Business Research, Wichita State University – [Senate Commerce Committee; January 29 at 8:30 am]
  • Hearing on: SB 17 – Requiring class M driver’s license when operating a motorcycle registered under a temporary permit – [Senate Transportation Committee; January 29 at 8:30 am]
  • Briefing on: 2018 Elections by the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office – [Senate Ethics, Elections, and Local Government Committee; January 29 at 9:30 am]
  • Hearing on: SB 22 – Kansas itemized deductions, election, providing for deferred foreign income, global intangible low-taxed income, business interest, capital contributions and FDIC premiums income tax modifications.

Wednesday –

  • Hearing on: SB 29 – Providing for fully-insured association health plans – [Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee; January 30 at 9:30 am]
  • Hearing on: SB 19 – Authorizing certain entities to access a criminal defendant’s presentence investigation report – [Senate Judiciary Committee; January 30 at 10:30 am]

Thursday –

  • Hearing on: SB 26 – Income tax credit for certain purchases of goods and services by a taxpayer from qualified vendors that provide employment to individuals who are blind or disabled – [Senate Commerce Committee; January 30 at 8:30 am]

Thank You for Engaging

Thank you for all your calls, emails, and letters regarding your thoughts and concerns about happenings in Kansas. Constituent correspondence helps inform my decision-making process and is taken into great consideration when I cast my vote in the Kansas Senate. I hope you’ll continue to engage with me on the issues that matter most to you, your family, and our community. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, I encourage you to follow along with the #ksleg hashtag for real-time updates on legislative happenings in Topeka.

Please know that I am fully committed to addressing the current issues in our state, and I am proud to be your voice in the Kansas Senate.

Disability Benefits to ‘Blue Water’ Vietnam Veterans

WASHINGTON — A federal court ruled Tuesday that the Department of Veterans Affairs cannot deny disability benefits to thousands of Vietnam veterans who claim exposure to cancer-causing chemical defoliants simply because those vets served in the waters off the country’s coastline, and not inland.

The ruling marks a major victory for so-called “blue water” Navy veterans who have fought the department for years over the denials. VA officials have said the existing scientific evidence doesn’t justify the presumption of toxic exposure for the group and have strongly opposed legislative efforts to overturn their decision.

But the 9-2 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturns past court opinions backing up VA, saying that Congress never intended to exclude servicemembers in the seas around Vietnam when they awarded presumptive benefits for certain illnesses related to Agent Orange exposure.

Under current department rules, the blue water veterans can receive medical care for their illnesses through VA. But to receive disability benefits — worth up to several thousand dollars a month — they must prove that their ailments are directly connected to toxic exposure while on duty.

That’s not the case for other Vietnam veterans, who are presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange and other defoliants known to cause serious and rare cancers.

So while a veteran who served on the shoreline could receive disability payouts after contracting Parkinson’s Disease or prostate cancer, another vet who served on a ship a few miles away would have to provide evidence of direct contact with hazardous chemicals.

Advocates have said that, given the time that has passed since the war, obtaining such proof is impossible and unfair. In their ruling, the federal judges agreed.

“These statutes cast no doubt on our conclusion that, by using the formal term ‘Republic of Vietnam,’ Congress unambiguously referred, consistent with uniform international law, to both its landmass and its 12-nautical-mile territorial sea,” the ruling states.

If VA officials opt not to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court in the next 90 days — or if the court decides not to hear the case — the result means that up to 90,000 blue water veterans could see disability payouts as early as this year.

In a statement, VA spokesman Curt Cashour said the department is reviewing this decision and “will determine an appropriate response.”

Advocates hailed the news as a major step ahead in their effort to win benefits for the aging veterans.

“This is a big win,” said John Wells, retired Navy commander and the executive director of Military-Veterans Advocacy, which helped file the lawsuit. “We want to work with VA on how to implement this as painlessly as possible, but making sure these veterans get all they deserve.”

Bart Stichman, executive director of the National Veterans Legal Services Program, said the decision “unequivocally rights a wrong that is a terrible injustice to all veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange in the waters of Vietnam.”

Legislation that would have awarded presumptive status to the blue water veterans was blocked by a small group of senators at the end of last year, disappointing advocates who saw the legislative momentum as their best chance for a victory in years.

Now, instead of granting the benefits to veterans, lawmakers may be forced to scramble new bills to cover the cost of the court-ordered awards.

Congressional Budget Office officials had estimated that awarding the benefits to the blue water veterans could total about $1.1 billion over 10 years, but VA officials have insisted the total is closer to $5.5 billion. Disagreements over whether to use new home loan fees to pay for the costs stalled the previous legislation.

If the court order stands, VA will be forced to cover the costs regardless of whether an offset is agreed upon, a potential drain on the department’s annual budget. Several new bills on the issue are already pending before Congress, and the chairmen of both the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees have promised to deal with the topic quickly this year. In a statement, Senate chairman Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said that he was pleased with the court decision and would work closely with VA on the next steps.

The full decision is available at the appeals court’s web site.

The article can be found at https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2019/01/29/court-rules-va-must-pay-disability-benefits-to-blue-water-vietnam-veterans/?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=Socialflow+MIL&utm_source=facebook.com&fbclid=IwAR2-jzycWfDe0TV9q1nNDMO_m0LgVimIL9c3ZOAzPazJbFf3KnYaFJlz6F8

Chamber Coffee At Courthouse Jan. 31

Join us for Chamber Coffee
Hosted by:

Southwind Extension District

Courthouse Lobby, 210 S. National Ave.
Thursday, January 31, 2019

Click here for Southwind Extension District web page.

Chamber members and guests are encouraged to attend for networking, community announcements, and to learn about the hosting business or organization.
Members may pay $1 to make an announcement about an upcoming event, special/sale/discount, or news of any kind.
Upcoming Coffees:
February 7 – City State Bank
February 14 – Visage Skin Care
February 21 – Fort Scott Lofts
February 28 – Hole in the Wall Liquor Store/Adventures in Mission