Candidate Forum October 15

Join us for the
2020 General Election Candidate Forum
Memorial Hall Auditorium
1 E. 3rd Street
Doors open at 5:30pm for a
Meet & Greet with Candidates
Forum will begin at 6pm
Join us in person or watch the forum via
live broadcast on our Facebook page:
Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce
to be asked of the candidates.
See more information below.
Candidate Forum Guidelines for Write-in Campaign Candidates…..CLICK HERE!
This forum is being hosted by the
Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce
The public is encouraged to submit questions for the candidates!
Deadline to submit questions:
Tuesday, October 13th, noon
Submit by email:[email protected]
Drop off at the Chamber: 231 E. Wall St.
Call them in: 620-223-3566
Candidates should RSVP to the Chamber prior to the forum by e-mailing [email protected]or
by calling 620-223-3566.

Flags Half-Staff To Honor KS. Rep. Mastroni

Governor Laura Kelly Orders Flags at Half-staff in Honor of Kansas Representative Leonard Mastroni


In accordance with Executive Order 20-30, Governor Laura Kelly has ordered U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff at all state buildings, grounds, and facilities beginning today, Wednesday, September 30, until the day of interment, in honor of Kansas Representative Leonard Mastroni. Mastroni, La Crosse, has represented Kansas House District 117 since 2017.


“I was saddened to hear of the passing of Representative Mastroni, who was a dedicated public servant during his tenure in the Kansas House of Representatives,” Governor Kelly said. “I respected and admired his commitment to working with his colleagues in the Legislature to improve the lives of his constituents. I offer my sincerest condolences to his wife, Linda, their four children, and all of his friends and loved ones during this difficult time. Leonard will be missed on the House floor, and throughout his district.”


Representative Mastroni graduated from Fort Hays State University, and in 1981 was elected as a District Court Judge for the 24th Judicial District. After retirement he served as a Rush County Commissioner for six years before being elected as State Representative. He and his wife, Linda, lived in La Crosse for over 40 years.


To receive email alerts when the governor orders flags to half-staff, please visit

St. Mary’s School Makes Changes for Pandemic

St. Mary’s Catholic School students have some classes outside. Submitted photos.

School started for St. Mary’s Catholic School on August 27.


But with the COVID 19 Pandemic, this year is not school as usual.


“We have moved our 3rd/4th grade combination classroom into our gym space, to ensure that there is at least six feet between all students,” Josh Regan, St. Mary’s Principal, said. “From the very beginning, one of our top priorities has been to make sure that there is adequate social distancing in every classroom.”


Regan knows the school is fortunate to be small enough to be able to social distance, and that not all schools have this ability, he said.


Regan is thankful for the cooperation of staff and the community in setting the school up for the start of school.


“I want to commend our 3rd/4th grade classroom teacher, Amber Russell, for her hard work in creating a classroom space in just a couple of weeks,” Regan said.  “She really went above and beyond in making that space not only conducive to learning but also inviting and comfortable for kids.”


Amber Russells’s 3rd/4th class allows social distancing in the school gym. Submitted photos.

“We also want to thank Matt Ida and Brian McGowan at Extrusions Inc. for their generous help in constructing temporary walls for that classroom,” Regan said.

The administration and staff want to maximize time the students can be without a facemask, one of the ways they are following government guidelines to stop the spread of the disease, he said.

” We want to maximize the time that kids can be kids, without the restriction of a facemask that we feel strips away part of our God-given human connection with others since we cannot see concealed faces,” Regan said.  “Communication is damaged and relationships are much more difficult to build when we cannot tell whether a child is frustrated, sad, happy, or somewhere in between based on their expression!!”

“So much communication is nonverbal, especially in how a teacher reads the emotions of students and how kids interact with each other,” he said. ” Our kids wear masks as mandated, but we have worked hard to maximize time outside where they can remove masks safely and laugh, talk, and enjoy the time with their friends! ”

Students bring beach towels to school each week to spread out on the school’s lawn to eat lunch.

St. Mary’s students enjoy lunch outside. Submitted photos.

” About a month before school we also started asking school families, parishioners, and community members to allow us to borrow any picnic tables that we could get our hands on,” he said. “A couple of our families even anonymously bought and donated outdoor tables.”

“Our teachers frequently take classes outside and use the tables to distance kids with masks off,” Regan said.

In addition, the school has all its’ physical education classes outside.

“It has worked out great for us, mostly because God has blessed us with beautiful weather so far this year,” Regan said.

Students at St. Mary’s learn outside. Submitted photos.

USD 234 Early Release Day on Wednesday, October 7, 2020


There will be an early release day for students on Wednesday,

October 7, 2020.  Students will be dismissed at the following times:

Fort Scott High School and Eugene Ware School – 1:01 p.m.
Fort Scott Middle School – 1:11 p.m.
Winfield Scott School – 1:06 p.m.
Fort Scott Preschool Center and New Generation Preschool – 11:05 a.m.


There will be no afternoon preschool sessions and no after-school child care.

Quarterly Downtown Meet and Greet Oct. 6

Join us for the Quarterly Downtown Meet & Greet, Tuesday, October 6th, 2020!
8:30 am to 9:30 am
hosted by the Chamber at Sharky’s Pub & Grub
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.
Masks and social distancing are encouraged at your discretion.

Electric Rate Study Replaced

New version of electric rate study filed in response to Kansas Corporation Commission order requesting transparency


TOPEKAA new electric rate study has been submitted to the Kansas Corporation Commission replacing a heavily redacted version filed with the agency in July.  After AECOM, the company hired by the Legislature to complete Part 2 of the rate study, submitted a heavily redacted report, the KCC ordered AECOM to remove the redactions or provide legitimate justifications for the confidential designations.


The rate study was commissioned by the 2019 Legislature in Substitute for Senate Bill 69 to assist future legislative and regulatory efforts in developing energy policy. However, the large volume of confidential designations in the first version of the Part 2 study prevented the Legislature from fully viewing the study. The replacement report contains minimal redactions to protect sensitive data, such as customer and pricing information.


“It was imperative that a meaningful, publicly available report was provided,” said Commission Chair Susan Duffy. “The findings outlined in the rate study will help guide important energy policy discussions that are sure to take place in the upcoming legislative session and with the Commission.”


The utilities subject to the study included electric public utilities, electric cooperative public utilities, and the three largest municipally-owned or operated electric utilities by customer count.


The updated report provided by AECOM can be viewed on the Commission’s website at



Doughnuts For Dictionaries: Deadline Oct. 2

Rotary Announces
Doughnuts for Dictionaries
Krispy Kreme Fundraiser
Place your order today!
Deadline October 2nd at noon
$10 per dozen
Choice of:
Chocolate Iced
Raspberry Filled
Pickup will be Friday, October 9th
6am-10am in front of Memorial Hall
Friday morning pickup makes them perfect to share with your office, customers or friends!
Dictionaries for all 3rd Graders
in Bourbon County
Each year, the Fort Scott Rotary Club
donates a dictionary to every 3rd grade student
in Bourbon County. Fort Scott Rotary has
delivered nearly 3,000 dictionaries over the
past 17 years. All proceeds from
The Doughnuts for Dictionaries Fundraiser supports this local Rotary service project.
Options for ordering:
*Contact any Rotarian
*Call organizer Kathy Dancer at 215-0637
*Order at the Chamber of Commerce
*Order online at
Thank you in advance for your support of this
Rotary service project!
Sharing some pictures from the 2019 distribution of dictionaries to
Bourbon County 3rd graders. More distributed than pictured below!

Obituary of Catherine Shackelford

Catherine Shackelford, 95, of Fort Scott, passed away Monday morning September 28, 2020, at Via Christi Ascension in Pittsburg, Kansas.

She was born August 24, 1925, in Enid, Oklahoma, the daughter of John and Dora C. (Goeller) Ivan.

She married Robert Everett Shackelford in Colton, California and he preceded her in death August 29, 2001.

Catherine and her husband Robert owned and operated restaurants in California where they lived for a number of years. She was a member of Mary Queen of Angels Catholic Church.

Catherine is survived by her children, Gaylord Oberst and wife Deb, of Fort Scott, Glenn Oberst, also of Fort Scott, Carol Arner of Las Vegas, Nevada, and Rose Workman and husband Scott, of Lawrence, Kansas; eight grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

In addition to her husband, Robert, Catherine was also preceded in death by her parents, and all of her siblings, having been the last surviving member of her family.

Father Yancey Burgess will officiate graveside services at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, October 1, 2020, at the Fort Scott National Cemetery under the direction of the Konantz-Cheney Funeral Home.

Memorial contributions may be made to Mary Queen of Angels Catholic Church and left in the care of the Konantz-Cheney Funeral Home, 15 W. Wall St., P.O. Box 309, Fort Scott, KS 66701. Condolences may be submitted to the online guestbook at

Podcast of Fort Scott Losing Mercy Hospital Begins Sept. 29

Sarah Jane Tribble. Submitted photo.

A new audio file will be available for Fort Scottians to download to a computer or mobile device about the demise of Mercy Hospital in 2018.

It will be a series, which can be subscribed to, entitled “Where It Hurts.” The first season is “No Mercy.”

The author of the series is Sarah Jane Tribble, a Kaiser Health News Senior Correspondent.


Tribble returned several times to Fort Scott following Mercy’s closure, to interview residents.


She spent more than a year recording the lives of people and how they changed.


“Their stories are full of grit and hope. Along the way, Tribble finds that the notion that every community needs a hospital deserves questioning,” according to the press release.


“The reporting for this project began just weeks before the hospital closed in December 2018 and ended with a final trip in December 2019,” Tribble said. “Throughout, I was reminded of the resilience and strength of people in southeastern Kansas.”



Each episode spends time with people in town, Tribble said in an email interview.  “In one, I take the listener to a (Fort Scott) Chamber Coffee, in another, we travel to the cancer treatment center. I truly believe every person in this podcast is worth meeting and spending time with.”


Tribble asked “uncomfortable questions of (Fort Scott) town leaders and the Catholic nuns who once ran Mercy to find out why the hospital, like so many others in rural America, fell upon hard times and ultimately shut down,” according to the release.


Tribble in the first segment on Sept. 29, interviews Pat and Ralph Wheeler, Dave Martin, Roxine Poznich, Krista Postai, and Reta Baker.


Mercy’s Importance To Fort Scott


The loss to the community was not just health care but Mercy Hospital was one of its largest employers and had some of its best-paying jobs according to a Kaiser Family Foundation press release,  New Podcast “No Mercy” Features Fort Scott.


“Mercy Hospital served as a mainstay of the town for 132 years and was a constant presence until faltering finances forced its doors to close in December 2018,” according to the press release. “The town felt abandoned.”



To subscribe to the podcast, click below:


The new podcast is a collaboration between Kaiser Health News and St. Louis Public Radio.


When KHN Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Rosenthal read Tribble’s stories of Fort Scott, she knew it should be a podcast, according to the press release .


St. Louis Public Radio General Manager Tim Eby said in the press release  “The powerful stories from ‘Where It Hurts’ will help listeners, no matter where they are, understand the health care challenges facing our nation. These are stories that bring context and humanity and need to be heard by audiences.”


Series Begins On September 29 With Weekly Episodes


The series employing a narrative storytelling approach, debuts Sept. 29, with episodes to be released weekly through Nov. 10.


They will be available on major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and NPR One.



About the author, Sarah Jane Tribble

Tribble was born and grew up in Parsons, Kansas. Her parents still live on the 10-acre farm she was raised on.

Sarah Jane Tribble, in a winter scene in her younger years in Parsons, KS. Submitted photo.

“My love of journalism began when I joined the high school newspaper staff,” she said. ” I went away to college, took a job at the Wichita Eagle, and then followed a journalism career path that took me from coast-to-coast.”


She first heard of  Fort Scott Mercy Hospital closing from her mom in one of their frequent conversations, Tribble said.


Doing the background for the story, Tribble was alarmed by the health statistics.


“As someone who grew up in the region, I was initially surprised and alarmed to learn of some of the poor health statistics in the area,” Tribble said in the email interview. “The data shows there are higher rates of diabetes and obesity as well as higher rates of smoking and childhood poverty than other areas of the state. It all adds up to people dying younger.”