Special City Meeting Sends Reponse To Kansas Attorney General

Fort Scott City Attorney Jeffrey Deane speaks to the press following the special meeting of the city commission on Dec. 30.

The Fort Scott City Commission had a special meeting on Dec. 30 to sign off on a  letter to Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

This was in response to local citizen Michael Hoyt’s protest alleging Kansas open meetings violations by the commission.

The Fort Scott City Commission, Dec. 30, 2019, during a special meeting. From left: Commissioner Randy Nichols, City Clerk Diane Clay, Commissioner Cheryl Adamson, Mayor Jeanie Parker, Commissioner Jolynne Mitchell, Commissioner Cindy Bartlesmeyer, City Manager Dave Martin and City Attorney Jeffrey Deane.


“I wrote on behalf of the city and commission in reply to an inquiry from Lisa Mendoza of the Kansas Attorney General’s office,” Jeffrey Deane, Lauber Municipal Law, LLC, Lee’s Summit, MO, said in an email to FortScott.Biz.  Deane is the new Fort Scott City Attorney, replacing Burton Harding.

The city response letter was approved Dec. 30 by the commission and signed.

Hoyt’s Allegations

Hoyt alleged the city commission violated the Kansas Open Meetings Act when it prepared and signed a letter objecting to the candidacy of Kevin Allen, outside of an open meeting.

“It is now a public record and to save you the time of making a KORA request of us or the attorney general, I am providing this copy for information,” Deane said in an email to FortScott.Biz.

Hoyt sent a letter to the attorney general that a “notice of objection” was prepared and signed by each member of the Fort Scott City Commission on August 23, 2019.

The allegation is that the commissioners were acting together as a governmental body for the citizens of Fort Scott, in violation of the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA), according to Hoyt’s complaint.

The KOMA violation form was dated 10-10-2019 and signed by Hoyt.

To view the complaint to the attorney general, click below:

AG complaint 20191211

The City Attorney’s Response

“This allegation is baseless,” Attorney Deane noted, “in that

1) the commission, as the governing body, lacked the legal power and/or standing to contest Mr. Allen’s candidacy;

2) the August Letter was executed by five individuals, qualified under law as registered voters to lodge the contest, and not as an action of the governmental body; and

3) the provisions of KOMA did not attach to the actions of the commissioners acting on power granted to them individually by law and not in their official capacity.

For these reasons there was no KOMA violation.”

The Fort Scott City Attorney’s conclusion of the issue is as follows:

“Mr. Hoyt’s allegations stem from a flawed reading of the laws that govern this issue,” Deane states in the response to the attorney general. “The KOMA requires meetings when the governing body is transacting the business or affairs of government. As the analysis sets out above, the power and standing to raise an election contest is a personal right reserved and granted only to registered voters. A governmental subdivision such as the city, even though its duly elected governing body, lacks the legal power to lodge a
contest. As a result, the August Letter, even though signed by the five individuals that are also commissioners, could only be the expression of the individual’s power and standing to contest.”

To view the complete response, click below:

20191229 Fort Scott Reply to AG letter Final


Course Of Action To Be Determined

Assistant Attorney General Lisa Mendoza, who is also on the Open Government Enforcement Unit, said in the letter that once a response from the city is received, a proper course of action will be determined.

This may include further investigation, closing the matter or seeking appropriate remedy for any KOMA violations.

As a remedy, Hoyt seeks the entry of a consent order, admission of a violation and a $500 fine per commissioner, according to the letter from Mendoza.

Background Of The Issue

From Attorney Deane’s response to the attorney general:

The November 2019 Fort Scott City Commission elections were passionately contested.

Fourteen candidates filed for the city commission seats held by Commissioners Cheryl Adamson, Cindy Bartelsmeyer, and Mayor Jean Parker.

The August primary elections pared the 14 candidates down to six for the general election.

Rumors were circulating about Kevin Allen, alleging that his primary residence was his home on Brown Street, which is outside the boundary of the city limits, according to the letter from Attorney Deane.  Allen used the address of Skitch’s Hauling & Excavating, Inc., his business address,  on East 20th Street as his residence.

City ordinance and state law require candidates for city office to reside in the corporate boundaries of the city where they will hold office.

The allegation that Allen lacked the residence to hold office in Fort Scott was generally known to the electorate, including the individual city commission members, Deane’s letter stated.

“Cheryl Adamson authored the August letter, as an individual contest of Mr. Allen’s residency to hold office, to which Cindy Bartelsmeyer, JoLynne Mitchell, Randy Nichols, and Jean Parker joined,” Deane said in the response letter.

The letter could only have been brought by individual registered voters under state law and not by the city commission acting in its official capacity, Deane stated

The August letter was accepted by the Bourbon County Election Officer and a board convened for a full hearing on the matter.

The election board determined that even though Allen had several conflicting addresses in and out of the boundaries of Fort Scott, his claim of legal residence at the East 20th Street business address was sufficient to support candidacy and the election continued, according to the Deane letter.

Governor Reflects on 2019

Governor Kelly’s first year rebuilding Kansas


With 2019 drawing to a close, Governor Laura Kelly reflected on her administration’s accomplishments during her first year in office and addressed the work still to be done to keep Kansas on the path to prosperity.

“When I took office in January, I made a promise to the people of Kansas that I would do everything I could to rebuild our state and improve their quality of life,” Kelly said. “That promise has guided me over the course of the past year, and today I am pleased to say we have instituted bipartisan, meaningful change in 2019 that will help strengthen families across Kansas.

“Our state is on the road to recovery. This summer, CNBC described Kansas as ‘the comeback state of 2019,’ improving our standing in their annual rankings of top states for business by 16 spots – the largest jump of any other state.

While the Governor has made meaningful progress in restoring fiscally responsible budget practices, she knows that she must keep fighting for and investing in key priorities such as Kansas’ schools and infrastructure. 

“I’m proud of this, and all we have accomplished,” Kelly said. “But we still have so much to do. I promise to continue to work hard every day for every Kansan.”


Among the successes of Governor Kelly’s administration in 2019:



From day one, Kelly ran on the promise of restoring school funding and becoming the “Education Governor.” Kelly highlighted the importance of investing in the school system to build a future workforce pipeline and a brighter future for all Kansans. 

On April 6, Kelly signed a bipartisan school funding bill that the Kansas Supreme Court ruled adequately funded Kansas schools. In a true victory for Kansas families, the ruling finally ended many years of costly litigation over school finance and put K-12 public schools on a stronger foundation for success.

Kelly also established the Governor’s Council on Education, which is made up of stakeholders in education, child welfare, labor, advocacy and business communities across Kansas. The Council has already issued initial recommendations designed to improve education outcomes from early childhood through postsecondary attainment; enhance workforce development; and stimulate economic growth in Kansas.

Kelly also increased funding for higher education and challenged Kansas’ Regents universities to ensure that the funding would protect Kansas college students from a tuition hike for the first time in years.


Current labor market data, for November 2019, shows Kansas maintained record low unemployment, marking its lowest rate in 40 years at 3.1%. Since November of 2018, Kansas has gained 16,800 non-farm jobs and 11,800 private-sector jobs. November estimates also indicate strong wage growth in the private sector.


Fiscal Responsibility

During her first weeks in office, Kelly submitted a balanced budget to the Kansas Legislature nearly three weeks ahead of schedule. The budget paid down debt, invested in key priorities like schools, highways and health care, and provided the state with the largest ending balance in a decade — all without a tax increase, as promised.

In September, Kelly established the bipartisan Governor’s Council on Tax Reform. The Council is performing an in-depth study of the state’s current tax system. In December, the Council produced a number of recommendations for a fair and sustainable tax structure.

In calling for a return to the balanced, three-legged stool approach to taxes – income, property and sales — it recommended a food sales tax rebate and return to a tax-reduction fund that would give local governments more ability to lower property taxes. Decreasing the burden placed on Kansas families by the food sales tax has always been one of the Governor’s top priorities from the first day of her campaign. 

In addition to balancing the budget, Kelly’s administration began the process of thoroughly reviewing the state’s “no-bid” contracts. The practice of “no-bid” contracts bypassed the official state bidding process designed to ensure that contracts are transparent and in the best interests of Kansans. New measures of transparency, accountability and fairness have been established within the state procurement process. Kelly has taken exhaustive steps to ensure that Kansas taxpayer dollars go toward the most qualified bidder. 


Child Welfare

One of Kelly’s top priorities after taking office was taking steps to rebuild Kansas’ broken foster-care system.

She first appointed a nationally renowned leader to guide the Department for Children and Families. In January, Secretary Laura Howard took the lead at DCF and immediately improved transparency within the agency and efforts to locate children who were absent or had run away. Secretary Howard made meaningful progress by also hiring dozens of new social workers needed to improve response times and handle the existing caseload. 

Kelly also signed a bill allowing Kansas to leverage millions of federal dollars to benefit programs that strengthen vulnerable children and families. The bill enables Kansas to meet the requirements of the federal Family First Prevention Services Act program, which uses funds to give Kansas families access to strong, evidence-based programs – from mental health services to substance use disorder treatment – designed to prevent the need for foster care.



Kelly reduced more than $160 million in sales tax transfers from the “Bank of KDOT,” the money from the state’s transportation program. Over the past several years, more than $2 billion from this fund was used by the Legislature to pay for programs unrelated to transportation. By working toward closing the “Bank of KDOT,” the state can finally use Kansas’ infrastructure dollars to begin rebuilding deteriorated highways, complete five delayed T-WORKS projects, address critical safety needs, reinstate the local bridge repair program and create a partnership program for communities to address their infrastructure problems.   

The Governor has directed KDOT to develop a new long-term transportation plan for the state. After meeting with more than 2,000 Kansans, the proposed new FORWARD transportation plan calls for completing all T-WORKS projects, fully funding highway preservation, modernizing all modes of transportation, and providing economic development opportunities across the state.

Health Care

Kelly has made it clear that her top priority in 2020 will be expanding KanCare, the state’s Medicaid program, so that 150,000 more Kansans will have access to affordable, quality health care.

As part of Kelly’s commitment to ensuring 2020 will finally be the year we bring expansion over the finish line, Kelly established the bipartisan Governor’s Council on Medicaid Expansion.

“The group studied what worked elsewhere to help determine the best path for Kansas,” Kelly said. “The Council will submit a final report to me in early January outlining several guideposts for responsible expansion in Kansas. I call on the Legislature to carefully consider these guideposts next session as a way to pass a clean, effective bill to help the many Kansans who currently don’t have enough coverage.”


Economic Development

Kelly, in conjunction with Secretary of Commerce David Toland, established the Kansas “Framework for Growth” – a comprehensive strategy for economic growth in the state. A team of stakeholders, business leaders and economic development professionals from across the state will implement three phases: assessment and benchmarking; recommendations and best practices; and implementation planning. Key priorities of the Framework for Growth include business and workforce development, industry promotion and job creation. 

The Department of Commerce also re-launched the Main Street program, which is critical to the growth and revitalization of our rural communities. Prior to 2012, when Main Street was discontinued, the program had a 27-year history of building stronger communities and strengthening businesses by preserving historic commercial districts around the state. 


Rural Prosperity

Kelly appointed Lieutenant Governor Lynn Rogers to lead the newly-established Office of Rural Prosperity, which will develop statewide policies and initiatives for improving life in rural communities that have been neglected for far too long. 

This summer, Rogers visited 54 Kansas counties on his Office of Rural Prosperity listening tour. On the tour, he learned that key needs in rural communities include developing rural housing, investing in infrastructure and supporting hospitals. 


Kelly, along with Lt. Governor Rogers, urged Kansas’ congressional delegation to support the pending United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), due to its importance to Kansas trade and exports – and the state’s economy.

Additionally, the Kansas Department of Agriculture recently unveiled a new website to assist Kansas farmers and ranchers who are dealing with ag-related stress. The website contains resources and support to assist Kansas farmers, including help with stress management, financial and legal challenges and mental health services.


State Employees and Cabinet

This year, Kelly increased pay for state workers by 2.5%, without a tax increase. And after years of health insurance premium hikes, this year Kelly’s administration was able to decrease costs by 6% for families and spouses.


In addition, one of Kelly’s first priorities was to appoint a highly-qualified, bipartisan Cabinet focused on rebuilding state agencies that had been hollowed out over the course of the past several years.


The Cabinet has taken great strides to serve more Kansans and restore transparency and accountability in state government.



When Kelly took office in January, the state’s corrections system was in dire straits due to overcrowding and other problems. To address the crisis in state prisons and enhance public safety, Kelly increased pay for corrections workers by 15.9%.

She also appointed several members to the new, bipartisan Kansas Criminal Justice Reform Commission, which will address systemic problems in our criminal justice system and make suggestions for change that should help ease prison crowding and reduce recidivism rates. 


Inclusion and Equality

On her first day in office, Kelly signed Executive Order 19-02, reinstating protections to state employees who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

She also agreed to a court order allowing transgender Kansans to update the gender listed on their birth certificate, so it accurately reflects their identity. 


When Kelly took office, the state boards and commissions to which the governor makes appointments were composed of 37% women and 63% men. Now, due to Governor Kelly’s appointments and her commitment to gender parity throughout Kansas, state boards and commissions are composed of 51% women and 49% men. 


2020 Priorities

“There is still so much to do,” Kelly said. “I will continue traveling across the state to hear from Kansans about what is working in their communities – and what is not. Hearing from Kansans directly is how I’ve always operated. It’s the only way to get things done, and get things done right.”

“I am proud of what we accomplished, and I look forward to continuing this hard work next year.”


Home Energy Cost Assistance Available Jan. 16

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) is a Federally funded program that helps eligible households pay a portion of their home energy costs by providing a one-time per year benefit.

Locally,  at Community Christian Church, January 16th from 10 a.m. -2 p.m.  Evergy will have a representative onsite to help answer questions and assist people in signing up for this program.



LIEAP Frequently Asked Questions.


The 2020 LIEAP application period is from Thursday, January 2, 2020, through Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Applications must be received prior to 5:00 PM, March 31, 2020.


  • Print application available December 16, 2019.
  • Online application available January 2, 2020.


The following summary describes basic LIEAP eligibility provisions.  Additional information may be obtained by calling 1-800-432-0043.


Persons Eligible

In order to qualify, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  1. An adult living at the address must be personally responsible for paying the heating costs incurred at the current residence, payable either to the landlord or the fuel vendor.
  2. Applicants must demonstrate a recent history of payments toward purchase of the primary heating energy.


The combined gross income (before deductions) of all persons living at the address may not exceed 130% of the federal poverty level according to the guidelines listed below:


2020 Income Eligibility Guidelines

Persons Living at the Address Maximum Gross Monthly Income
1 $1,354.00
2 $1,832.00
3 $2,311.00
4​ $2,790.00​​
5​ $3,269.00​
6​ $3,748.00​
7​ $4,227.00​
8​ $4,705.00​
9​ $5,184.00
10​ $5,663.00
11​ $6,142.00
12​ $6,621.00
+1    $479.00 for each additional person






















Benefit levels vary according to the following factors:

  • Household income
  • Number of persons living at the address
  • Type of dwelling
  • Type of heating fuel


Want To Host A Chamber Coffee?

Happy New Year!
We are now booking
Chamber Coffees for 2020! Chamber Coffees take place each Thursday at 8am and are a great way to promote your business or organization with approximately 40-50 people in attendance.
Click here for a current schedule and to view open dates.
Click here to email us your preferred date.
You might include a 1st & 2nd option in case your
choice is full by the time you request a date.
Click here for an overview of hosting a Coffee.
You may also call us vs. email with your preferred date or to go over any questions you may have about hosting.
Rita Schroeder, Administrative Assistant
Lindsay Madison, Executive Director
Upcoming Chamber Coffee Schedule:
* 1/9Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, at the Chamber office, 231 E. Wall St.
* 1/16 Fort Scott Compassionate Ministries, at their office located w/the Bourbon County Senior Citizen Center, 26 N. Main St.
* 1/23 Walmart, in the Vision Center
* 1/30 My1Stop, at Empress Center, 7 N. Main St.

Controversy Rises on Wind Farm Possibility In Bourbon County

Photo from the Jayhawk Wind website.

The proposed wind turbine project in southwest Bourbon County has long term consequences for the economy of the area.

Jayhawk Wind, the wind energy company proposing the project, is looking to use 28,000 acres of land in the county to produce electricity in the region, including Bourbon and Crawford counties.

The Jayhawk Wind project is being developed by Apex Clean Energy.

Apex Clean Energy develops, constructs, and operates utility-scale wind and solar power facilities across North America. Their team of more than 200 renewable energy experts uses a data-focused approach, according to its website. Apex Clean Energy, Inc. is located at 310 4th St. NE, Suite 300, Charlottesville, VA  22902

To see the Bourbon and Crawford County’s  project analysis  and a Jayhawk Wind press release which was published recently on FortScott.Biz, click below:

Jayhawk Wind – Economic Development Report Final November 2019(2)

Jayhawk Eco impact report 12 2019(1)


Wind farm production in Kansas has helped to lower CO2 emissions, according to a National Public Radio (NPR) article.

Kansas’ lower emissions is largely due to the rapid adoption of wind energy and a slow move away from coal-powered electricity.

“With the fast growth of cheap wind-generated electricity in Kansas, it’s become less profitable to run coal plants,” according to the article.

Click below to view:



There is a local controversy building about the proposed wind energy project.

A meeting of opponents to Jayhawk Wind project is planned for  Bourbon and Crawford county residents, according to a press release.

The meeting is scheduled for  6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 9,  at Rodeway Inn, Ft. Scott, Ks.

On the agenda will be the organization of a formal opposition group, assistance from successful opponents of previous wind farms, and a discussion of potential and political avenues to stop the Jayhawk development.
Dane Hicks and Kim Simons will be speaking, according to Anne Dare, one of the concerned citizens who will be attending.
The meeting is open to the public.
Anyone concerned about the impact on home values and damage to the community’s natural rural vista by the project is asked to attend.
Contact: Kim Simons, 620-224-1215, [email protected]


Noise level and other issues have been questions the public has asked about the project.


Noise level is 50 dBa


Apex Clean Energy, says the noise is minimal.

“The majority of the sound produced from modern dynamic windmills will be limited to 50 decibels,  quieter than a refrigerator as measured at a nearby house,” according to Helen Humphries, Public Engagement Manager for Apex Clean Energy, Inc.



Other issues

To see community opinions on noise levels and other related issues at another wind farm site, view this Youtube from an Arkwright, NY wind turbine project controversy:




There  are benefits

Some of the financial benefits go to landowners, schools and government entities, which are facing a decline in population and finances. The project will also provide some jobs: construction, operation, supply chain, and induced jobs.


“Construction jobs only last during the construction of the wind farm,” Dr. David Loomis, professor of economics at  Illinois State University and co-founder of Center for Renewable Energy said in an interview with FortScott.Biz. Loomis is the author of the analysis. “Construction jobs last six months to a year, 318 jobs for the year (estimated). All estimates are full-time equivalency.”,

“Operational jobs…They last the life of the project,” Loomis said. “On-site wind turbine technicians, a site supervisor, some administrative support.”

“There will be supply chain jobs due to expenditures in the local economy…truck fuel, gravel, supplies, and other items.”

“The final category is induced jobs…spending, shopping, eating out, entertainment because of all other jobs created because people have more money to spend for that,” Loomis said.

“Induced long term jobs include landowners leasing their land, tax revenue going into the local economy, schools, county, so forth,” Loomis said.

Rural areas are hard hit economically.

“The agriculture sector has been hit hard over the last two cycles,” he said. “2005 was a great time to be on a corn or soybean farm, but they’ve gotten squeezed because of the rising costs of equipment and fertilization.  Oversupply caused a downturn.”

“Rural economies are hurting, individual farms are feeling this punch. This lease payment will take little land out of production but can help stabilize family farms. It’s a fixed payment to them.”

Currently,  Jayhawk Wind is leasing land from landowners in the area of southwest Bourbon County and northwest Crawford County,  Humphries said.


School District Benefits

“There is no revenue until 2032 due to the property tax exemption.,” Loomis notes in the analysis reports. “Starting in 2032, USD 235 will receive over $161 thousand annually for the general fund, over $225 thousand for the ‘Other’ Fund which totals to over $2.4 million and over $3.3 million respectively.”

Renewable energy facilities are exempt from property taxes for 10-12 years.

“Kansas recently changed the way that it taxes wind energy projects,” according to Humphries.” Before 2016, renewable energy generating facilities such as wind farms were exempt from property taxes according to K.S.A. 79-201. Since 2016, renewable energy generators are exempt from property taxes for only twelve years if owned by an independent power producer and ten years if constructed by a regulated public utility per K.S.A. 79-259. After this exemption period, the wind energy project will pay property taxes to all the taxing jurisdictions.”


Bourbon County Government Benefits

“Typically, wind developers in Kansas enter into a contribution agreement to voluntarily support the county during the 10 or 12 year exemption period, as we expect Jayhawk Wind to do,” Humphries said.  “Once the initial 10 or 12 year period as defined by state law concludes, the wind power project will increase the property tax base and create a new revenue source for education and other local government services, such as road maintenance, libraries, and cemeteries.”

To see other views on the school and local government issues, click below:










Bourbon County Commission Agenda Dec. 31


Bourbon County Commission Room

1st Floor, County Courthouse

210 S. National Avenue

Fort Scott, KS 66701

Tuesdays starting at 9:00

Date: December 31, 2019

1st District-Lynne Oharah Minutes: Approved: _______________

2nd District-Jeff Fischer Corrected: _______________

3rd District-Nick Ruhl Adjourned at: _______________

County Clerk-Kendell Mason

10:00-10:30 – 2019 Budget Amendment Hearing

New Year’s Resolutions, How to Develop Fitness Goals into Good Ones

K-State Research and Extension Southwind District Agent Joy Miller


620-223-3720 or [email protected]



Just rattle off how many pounds you want to lose, what pant size you want to wear, how much weight you want to squat, or the date you need to look photo-ready and you are on your way. That is how most people set goals. Typical resolutions and goals often lead to feeling lost, confused, overwhelmed, and crushed by ‘should’. Continue reading for tips on how to create your 2020 blue print to build the skills you need to reach your goal this year.

When someone is asked about their fitness goals, most people start with the outcome(s) they want: lose 20 pounds, six pack abs, binge less often, bench press a certain amount of weight. Outcome goals describe how we want things to be at the end of the process. There is nothing wrong with starting with the end in mind but we may not have control on how things turn out.

Set a behavior goal to focus on the things you do have control over. They represent your commitment to practice a particular set of actions or tasks every day, as consistently and regularly as possible. Examples: Lose weight (outcome), eat until satisfied instead of stuffed at each meal (behavior). Squat more weight (outcome), squat 3 times a week at various intensities (behavior). Want a better relationship with a partner (outcome), have a date night once a week (behavior).

Both outcome and behavior goals are trackable. Behavior goals are usually more effective because they give you something to do and track each day.

Avoidance goals, you know the ones-stop drinking soda, absolutely no sugar, stop smoking. Avoid goals are nice and straightforward, seems logical they would push you away from something bad or something that threatens what you want to achieve. This type of goal is a lot of psychological work, taking up mental and emotional real estate and energy. All you think about is what you are not doing or shouldn’t do but really want to do.

Turn avoidance goals into approach goals. Approach goals pull you toward something desirable, focus on feeling good or about doing good for ourselves. Revisiting the stop drinking soda (avoid) an approach solution could be drink a glass of water with meals each day, the benefit may be headaches are gone.

Performance goals are similar to outcome goals and usually associated with external validation such as wanting to get good grades or win a competition. Performance goals can be fun for a while, pushing yourself to be your best. It can also be demotivating if they don’t work out. Just like outcome goals, performance goals are often limited by factors outside your control. Performance goals also put our happiness and satisfaction in the hands of someone or something else. This may be pleasing a coach or parent, beating a competitor, social media likes, etc.

Instead of setting performance goals, create mastery goals that emphasize the process of getting a little bit better each day at a particular skill. Mastery is gratifying because no matter what others think or do, you can still feel good about your own personal progression. Mastery goals involve words like ‘work on’, ‘build’, and ‘practice’.

To help with your health and fitness goals this year, visit Southwind.k-state.edu for upcoming programs such as Stay Strong Stay Health and Walk Kansas. The Southwind District has other upcoming events and resources to help you work toward your goals of health, finance, and overall well-being.