International Thespian Festival Attended Virtually By FSHS Students

Film and theatre star Tina Fey, assisted by International Thespian Officer Anna Hastings from Olathe, and interpreter Jeffrey Johnson speaks with Thespians at the International Thespian Festival. Submitted photo.

Fort Scott High School Thespians got the opportunity to attend an entire week of theatre performances, workshops, and livestream events at the first-ever Virtual International Thespian Festival.


The annual festival was held June 22-26, 2020. The students from FSHS who qualified to compete nationally in individual events attended this year’s event along with FSHS Thespian Director Angie Bin.

2020 senior Mesa Jones and sophomore Jenna Stockstill competed in Musical Solo and junior Ashanti Green competed in Monologues. Each student received an “Excellent” rating on her performance. They qualified for the Festival by receiving a “Superior” rating at the KS Thespian Festival in January.

International Thespian Festival qualifiers Ashanti Green, Jenna Stockstill, and Mesa Jones. Submitted photo.


Green said, “I loved how so many people were able to come together virtually even if we couldn’t be together in person!”


Although students missed being able to travel across the country and spend a week with fellow thespians, this year’s festival had unique benefits. All workshops were recorded throughout the week and all attendees will have access to all videos, performances, and interviews with theatre professionals for the next three months.


“ITF was great because even though it was online, we still got to do many workshops and listen to many stars talk, which is something that wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t have it online,” Jones said.


The festival included more than 2,400 Thespians from many countries. Guest speakers included Tina Fey, Dolly Parton, Stephen Swartz, Andrew Lloyd Webber and many other Tony, Oscar, and Emmy award winners and Broadway stars.


Swimming Pool Reopens July 1 With Modifications Due to COVID 19

The Aquatic Center will resume normal business hours beginning July 1st, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. There will be more restraints and guidelines to follow:

Only 30 people will be allowed in the pool at any given time.

At the top of each hour 30 new patrons will be allowed in the pool and the previous 30 will be asked to leave.

Cash only will be taken due to an issue with the credit card system.

They will take the first 30 people at the beginning of each hour. If patrons leave before their hour time has expired, we will NOT allow the next person in. This is so we can stay on the hourly change of patrons as a whole and allow us to clean all areas at the conclusion of each session.

The fees will remain the same as posted.

These guidelines will be reevaluated on July 8th, 2020 when the Public Health Officer’s order ends.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please call City Hall at 223-0550 if you have questions.

Downtown Meet and Greet July 7

Join us for the Quarterly Downtown Meet & Greet, Tuesday, July 7, 2020!
8:30 am to 9:30 am
hosted by the Chamber at Courtland Hotel & Spa
Rita Schroeder, Administrative Assistant
Lindsay Madison, President & CEO
These informal, quarterly meetings are hosted by the Chamber for downtown business owners, representatives and community members to network and share ideas on events, promotions and anything related to downtown. Coffee, juice and light refreshments will be served.
Special Note from the Chamber Board:
Following KS state safety recommendations & health practices ~subject to Bourbon County’s continued advancement through the reopening phasing plans.
You may wear a mask at your own discretion.

Buck Run Opens July 1, Limited to 45 People

Buck Run Community Center will be open to the public beginning on July 1st, 2020. The hours for Buck Run will be 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays, and 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.

The facility will be limited to a gathering of 45 individuals or less including Buck Run staff. Individuals are reminded to social distance when using this facility.

This will be reevaluated on July 8th, 2020 when the Public Health Officer’s order ends.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please call City Hall at 223-0550 if you have questions.

New COVID 19 Cases in Bourbon County

Both Bourbon and Woodson Counties have seen new cases today. Here is an update for today.


SEK Multi-County Health Departments

Bourbon and Woodson Counties

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

June 30, 2020

Bourbon County

Current Positive Cases 17
Presumptive Cases 1-listed on KDHE website, tested negative
Current Recovered Cases 11-includes presumptive case
Total Positives Since Testing 28
Deaths 1

Woodson County

Current Positive Cases 4
Current Recovered Cases 6
Total Positives Since Testing 10
Deaths 0

Recovered cases are based on dates of onset of symptoms, not on day testing results are received.

New Community Development Manager: Allyson Turvey

Allyson Turvey. Submitted photo.

Allyson Turvey, 30,  is the new Fort Scott Community Development Manager, as of May 26, 2020.

Her office is in city hall, phone number 620-223-0550.

She was already performing duties as the Fort Scott Tourism Manager, and when Robert Uhler resigned as Community Development Manager at the end of May, Turvey was given then the additional role.

” My duties will be pretty widespread now that I’ve taken on community development as an additional role,” Turvey said.

“I will be responsible for working with the (Fort Scott)Tourism Advisory Board, Design Review Board, Planning Commission, and Zoning Board. I am also now a member of the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team. I’m now responsible for the LaRoche Complex and Memorial Hall. This includes oversight of each facility, assisting in booking of events, and continuing to market LaRoche (baseball stadium).”

“From a tourism standpoint, I will continue to market Fort Scott as a destination,” she said.  “As well as continuing to attend trade shows in an effort to bring group tours, conventions, and meetings to our community. This doesn’t cover all of my duties, but the ultimate goals of the department are to bring more tourists to town in an effort to create an economic impact, and increase Tourism Guest Tax revenues.”

“From a Community Development standpoint, I will work to create a better community for our residents, which will ideally entice new residents along the way,” she said.  “This is achieved through widespread collaboration, and continued research for funding opportunities.”

“While I have a wide array of open projects, my major project currently is the Smart Growth America planning and implementation,” Turvey said. “The Smart Growth team visited Fort Scott for a community workshop in February, and recently provided a next steps memo including short, and long term goals and action steps to create progress within our community.”

“Both positions require me to represent the city on a local, regional, statewide, and federal level in an effort to better collaborate, and ideally increase funding opportunities for our community, ” she said.

Turvey has been with the city for just over three years, she said.


” I started as an administrative assistant, where I worked between Fort ScottTourism, Community Development, and Economic Development,” Turvey said.  “Last August I was promoted to tourism manager, and have continued to be heavily involved with other city departments, and projects.”


“I have also spent the last year representing the city on a local, regional, statewide, and federal level from both a tourism and community standpoint,” she said. “I’ve been working on alongside the community and economic development departments to meet Smart Growth objectives.


Turvey is originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, but has been living in Kansas for nearly eight years.


Her community involvement includes being the current president of the Young Professionals League and was invited to join PEO just before the start of the pandemic.


“I hope to be initiated as a member once meeting activities resume,” she said.


Allyson Turvey can be reached at  620-238-4919 or

American Legion Commander Asks To Contact Legislatures

Submitted by Carl Jowers

Dear American Legion Family Members and Friends,

Some of the surviving World War II veterans are suffering a great injustice. And it is up to The American Legion to persuade our lawmakers to correct this.

It’s the least we can do as we honor the courageous men and women who braved tyranny and saved democracy during the dark days of the early 1940s.

While most of these veterans are using VA services, some are not. Through no fault of their own, these veterans were dropped from the VA system or are being subjected to means testing.

In 1996, Congress passed the Veterans Health Care Eligibility Act, establishing means testing for access to VA for some veterans, while also exempting all Spanish American War and World War I veterans from that criteria. Now it’s time to do the same for The Greatest Generation.

That is why The American Legion National Executive Committee approved Resolution 3 at the 99th national convention in Reno, Nev., which calls for supporting legislation to amend the 1996 act “to extend the exemption from a means test to World War II veterans.”

But nothing has changed in the three years since that resolution was approved.

That is why I am calling on you today to help recognize these heroes with actions far more meaningful than words.

We can never truly thank the Greatest Generation enough for what they did in the Pacific and European theaters. But one way we can express our gratitude to those still living is to right this wrong on their behalf. Join me in contacting your congressional representatives today to tell them to open VA to all World War II veterans.

Thank you for your support of our American Legion programs, legislative agenda and, of course, our World War II veterans.

Stay safe, my friends and comrades.

James W. “Bill” Oxford
National Commander
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American Legion calls for accountability at Holyoke and other state homes
Read more

An Earned Benefit
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A guide to assist those most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic
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National Commander Coronavirus Updates
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Keep up with us on social media!
JUNE 30, 2020

Equal Rights Amendment Update

Governor Joins Coalition Fighting for Recognition of Equal Rights Amendment as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution


TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly has signed onto an amicus brief along with 18 states and the District of Columbia urging the National Archives and Records Administration to recognize the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.


“After generations of fighting for equal treatment and nearly 50 years after Kansas first passed the Equal Rights Amendment, the required 38 states have ratified it, and the Amendment should take its rightful place in the Constitution,” Governor Kelly said. “Kansas will join the chorus of other states proclaiming that equal rights belong to all Americans, regardless of sex.”


The amendment, which was initially proposed in 1972, reads simply, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Kansas was one of the first seven states to approve the amendment, just days after it was proposed, at the urging of the late Governor Robert Docking.


The lawsuit asks the courts to direct the Archivist of the United States to add the Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution. He argues that time has expired and that the amendment is dead, even though the required three-quarters of states have passed it.


“In the year 2020, the fact that women and men are equal should not be controversial, but women still face discrimination, earn less than their male counterparts and are underrepresented in public life,” Governor Kelly said. That is why I’ve committed to addressing the gender parity on our state boards, it’s why I fight for women’s rights to their own healthcare decisions, and it’s why I am signing onto this lawsuit today.”


The lawsuit—Virginia v. Ferriero, Case No. 1:20-cv-242-RC—is pending in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Joining the amicus brief are Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.


The brief can be found here.

Helping Families Purchase Food For Their Children

DCF Extends Deadline to Register for Pandemic EBT Program in Kansas

P-EBT offers one-time benefit for families with children who receive free or reduced-priced meals


The Kansas Department for Children and Families announced today that it is extending the deadline to register for the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Program (P-EBT) to July 31, 2020. The program helps families who were impacted by school closures due to COVID-19 to purchase food for their children.


“We know Kansas families continue to experience food insecurity because of the pandemic,” DCF Secretary Laura Howard said. “We want to ensure all families eligible for the program are able to receive this benefit to help with food costs during these uncertain times.”


P-EBT provides a one-time benefit of up to $291 on a Kansas Benefits Card to Kansas families whose children between the age of 5 to 18 received free or reduced-price meals at participating schools during the 2019-20 school year.


The initial deadline to register and provide additional information to receive P-EBT was June 30, but now registrations for P-EBT will be accepted until the end of July.


Every family eligible for free or reduced-price meals should have received a confidential link via email from the child’s school district. The link provides access to a parent portal to register for the program. School districts verify the family’s eligibility by sending the confidential link.


For eligible families who still need to register, be sure to check your email inbox for junk mail to look for the link. Contact you school’s nutrition services staff to ask for the link.


DCF will provide the link to families that have received SNAP, TANF or provided foster care during the last school year. Call 1-888-369-4777 to contact the local DCF office if you have received any of those benefits and have not received the link or have other questions.


For eligible families that have registered for P-EBT already but haven’t yet received the benefit, please allow for six to eight weeks for the benefit to process.


For more information, you can read P-EBT FAQs at 19_P-EBT_FAQ.pdf.


Obituary of Ellen Chaplin

Ellen Roberta Chaplin, age 67, a resident of Ft. Scott, Kansas, passed away early Monday, June 29, 2020, at the home of her daughter in Ft. Scott.

She was born October 1, 1952, in Ft. Scott, the daughter of Robert Wiggans and Doris Spaur Wiggans.

Ellen graduated from the Ft. Scott High School with the Class of 1970.

She first married David Hathaway on May 29, 1969, and to this union, two daughters, Rachel and Rhonda where born.  David and Ellen later divorced, and Ellen married Raymond Chaplin on September 2, 1981.  At this time, three more children, Chris, Kim and Jeff were added to the family.  Raymond and Ellen later divorced.

Ellen had been employed by Head Start, Key Work Clothes and Valu Merchandisers.  Her last place of employment was at Tri-Valley Developmental Services where she had worked in client services.

Ellen enjoyed crocheting and doing cross-stitch.  She loved her family dearly and enjoyed the many times spent with family and friends.


Survivors include her two daughters, Rachel Thompson and Rhonda Cole and husband, Ben, all of Ft. Scott; three step-children, Chris Chaplin and wife, Stephanie, Kim Wright and husband, Jay and Jeff Chaplin; ten grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.  Also surviving is a brother, Richard Wiggans and wife, Dorothy and several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Robert Wiggans and Doris Pellett and a brother, Mark Wiggans.


Graveside services will be held at 10:30 A.M. Thursday, July 2nd at the Clarksburg Cemetery.

Friends and family may meet at the Cheney Witt Chapel prior to leaving for the cemetery at 10:00 A.M. on Thursday.

The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 P.M. Wednesday at the Cheney Witt Chapel.

Appropriate social distancing will be practiced.  Memorials are suggested to Care to Share 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

Merchants: Reserve A Booth At the Fair

Sending the email below on behalf of
Chamber Member
Bourbon County Fair
Thank you for your Chamber partnership!
Businesses & Organizations
Are Invited to Reserve a Booth
In the Merchants Building
during the Bourbon County Fair!
Booths will be open
Monday-Friday, July 13th-17th
(prior e-blast had incorrect dates of June vs. July)
$25 for a 10×10 booth
Contact Allen Warren to reserve:
Or, click here to email Allen.
Also ~ Rodeo tickets will go on sale
at the Chamber July 2nd!
(we will be closed on the 3rd & back open Monday the 6th)
See more information below!
Ticket Sales & Booth Space Reservation Information
Please help share & support.

County Fair Time Nearing

Carla Nemecek is Southwind District Director and agent.

We are only a few weeks away from the start of the County Fair season – and I usually write an anticipatory column to incite excitement and attendance of the Fair.

In fact, my past columns have been along the lines of “County Fair season is just around the corner! The week that nearly every 4-H member has worked and waited for since the fair ended last year.  It is a time of year when youth from across the county get together to showcase their projects, but more importantly, it is a time for 4-H families to be together.”

The words ‘be together’ really strike me because they are the words that we are the most focused on in planning the 2020 Fairs during a pandemic.

We want to gather together to celebrate accomplishments and enjoy time with friends, but we just cannot.

Planning the 2020 County Fair has been hard. Our local Fair Board members, Extension Board members, and Extension staff have spent numerous hours on phone calls and zoom meetings (because Extension has not been allowed to meet face-to-face until after July 4) trying to navigate schedules and keep some resemblance of a County Fair that allows our 4-H members to showcase their projects while keeping everyone socially distant and safe.

Did I mention this has been hard? I think those who have cancelled their events or activities actually took the easy way out, because modifying the traditional County Fair has been more challenging than we could have possibly expected it to be. Then again, we didn’t expect any of this.

I did not expect we would face a global pandemic. I did not expect to have to modify the 4-H rabbit show because of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease that is fatal to rabbits. I did not expect to have to answer questions about Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) that has confirmed cases in Kansas and puts our horse show at risk. The Dog Show at the Kansas State Fair has already been cancelled, and we are anxiously awaiting information this week about the State Fair will look like in 2020. This has been hard.

Your Extension Agents want to have a normal County Fair every bit as much as you do. I don’t even know what normal is, or what it will look like by 2021. I am certain we will continue to plan the County Fairs as an event for our communities that helps us recognize the importance of 4-H and agriculture.

Please understand that a new fair schedule is not the schedule we will follow until the end of time and we all have made the best decisions possible with the information we had at the time the choices needed to be made.

Fair results will be published frequently online, and we expect to utilize our social media channels now more than ever.

To discover more about your County Fair, find us on Facebook at Southwind Extension District. Extension Agents have planned to conduct judging and showing activities that will keep our youth and their families safe.

Alternative virtual options will be available to those who do not feel like attending in person.

Mask wearing will likely be common, and possibly required.

In the meantime, I hope you will continue to be patient and kind with each other and look forward to a day that we can be together again. I look forward to the day I can publish an article that highlights a fun 4-H activity – that includes families working and learning together.

Carla Nemecek
Southwind Extension District
Director & Agent
[email protected]
1 North Washington, Iola, KS 66749