SOAR Camp at West Bourbon Elementary This June

West Bourbon Elementary School, Uniontown.

SOAR is a summer camp offered to West Bourbon Elementary 4th through 6th-grade students.


“The name was chosen to represent the eagle soaring,” Kerri Travis, the program director, said. The USD 235  Mascot is an eagle.

“It’s an opportunity for students to spread their wings and experience and enhance their learning through the exploration of new concepts and activities.,” she said.


These two girls are forming a flower pot on pottery wheels in a previous WBE Camp. Submitted photo.

The camp is June 1 – 28, Monday through Friday, from  8:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., and is free to district students.


Parents can sign up their children by contacting the West Bourbon Elementary School office at 620-756-4335.


“Our goal is to provide a place for our students to continue their growth academically while learning through hands-on activities such as robotics, coding, life skills, community service, and science experiments,” Travis said. ” Furthermore, it’s an opportunity for our students to spend time with their friends while engaging in fun activities.”


These are the planned activities for the camp:


Field trips to  Fort Scott Cinema, Trampoline Park, nature exploration, roller skating,  and a bouncy house.


Outdoor games, such as bowling, ladder golf, cornhole, horseshoes, badminton, water games, slammo game, ring toss, basketball, and volleyball.

These boys are preparing to eat a pumpkin dessert that they made in cooking class at a previous WBE Camp. Submitted photo.


Indoor Activities include 3D puzzles, bead pets, catapult wars, wooden construction science projects, sewing kits, magnetic design and paint tiles, food science experiments, cooking, photography, science experiments using microscopes, gardening, Legos, banking, fishing, tie-dye shirts, community service, reading session, and virtual reality headset activities.


Daily camp schedule and activities.

Students will arrive at West Bourbon Elementary be served a free breakfast.


Then the activities begin.


“Our summer program is designed to offer new enrichment activities while they are continuing to learn science concepts, technology, engineering, and math,” Travis said. “Our program is all hands-on activities, which the students love!”


There are three different enrichment activity classes daily, a thirty-minute session focusing on reading, a physical activity, and a healthy, nutritious free lunch for all students.


“Our SOAR camp will end daily at 1:30 p.m., from which the students will be sent home via school buses,” she said. “Every day will offer new and exciting learning opportunities for all our students. We all are gearing up for a great time at summer camp!”


These girls are painting rocks during sn enrichment time at a previous WBE Camp. The rocks are then hidden around the school for others to find. Submitted photo.


Daily Schedule

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. is check-in time, attendance, and breakfast.

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Enrichment class #1

10:00 – 10:20 a.m. Recess – outside or gym

10:20 – 11:00 a.m.  Reading session

11:00 – 11:50 a.m. Enrichment class #2

11:50 – 12:00 a.m. Recess – outside or gym

12:00 – 12:30 p.m. Lunch

12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Enrichment #3

1:30 – 1:45  p.m. Family time – load onto buses


The WBE camp leaders are Travis, program director, along with
Hannah Hays, Courtney Campbell, Angela Nading, Julie Schafer, Rachel Reed, and Bonnie Rathbun, who are tutors for the program.
“These ladies are who keep this program running effectively and work hard to keep the program exciting for our students,” Travis said.  “I appreciate their inputs, suggestions, and support as we all work together to make the best program possible!”
Pictured are students building objects with the activity called Zoomtools, in a previous WBE Camp.  “One student told me that they built the Coronavirus,” Travis said. Submitted photo.

Parks: Recipient of 2021 Community Champion Award

April 30, 2021
Kyle Parks: Recipient of the 2021 Healthy Bourbon County Action Team’s Community Champion Award

Parks is recognized for his 38 years of dedication to Bourbon County youth, developing leaders, and strong advocacy for the agriculture and FFA program.

During the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Award Ceremony, The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team (HBCAT) awarded Kyle Parks as the Community Champion for 2021.


For thirty-eight years Parks has shown a strong dedication to our youth, agriculture, education, and developing strong leaders. Always there and willing to do what needs to be done, Parks is an advocate, teacher, friend, and community leader.


“Mr. Parks goes above and beyond in everything he does. He is well deserved for such an award,” wrote Stacey Wright, nominator.

Through his work, he has shown he is committed to making things better for everyone. Parks and his class contributed to a community-built environment project by welding bike racks which were then painted by Peerless Products, Inc. After the paint dried, the City of Fort Scott agreed to install them throughout the community.


“The students who helped build these bike racks can walk through downtown and have a piece of ownership in revitalizing their community,” Jody Hoener, President and CEO of HBCAT states, “I would like to think when our youth participate and take ownership in their community, they will have a strong desire to give back and contribute even more as adults.”

This project was a stepping-stone to developing a more bikeable community, supports the Chamber of Commerce’s Bike Share Program, and increases access to outdoor activity.


The Bike Share Program has allowed residence a way to get to work, the grocery store, school, or healthcare.


“The bikes have served as transportation for several residents temporarily without a vehicle.” Lindsay Madison, President, and CEO of The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce.


As a teacher, Parks has made an impact on many student’s lives who have later in life become dear friends with he and his wife, Sheena Parks.


A previous student and friend of Parks, Katie Casper, wrote of him in her nomination:

“Kyle Parks has made so many contributions to our community it would be impossible to list them all here. He has given 38 years of service as the Agricultural Education instructor at Fort Scott High School. He has been a champion for our youth and has given each and every student that has passed through his doorway a feeling of purpose and belonging, allowing them to grow into skilled citizens and empowering them to find their place in the workforce and in life. This was demonstrated recently in his strong advocacy to our board of education and community for the programs in which he believes. He retires this year from a program that he feels is his identity, but in truth, he has given agricultural education and identity in our community. I believe in the future of Agriculture in Bourbon County, because Kyle Parks has played a role in shaping that future.”

The HBCAT solicited nominations for the prestigious award and received submissions of several worthy candidates. The winner was chosen out of the pool of nominations based on the following criteria:

Continue reading Parks: Recipient of 2021 Community Champion Award

Problem and Solution by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

Two shoe salesmen were sent to Africa

. One relayed a telegram home that read, “Get me home; nobody here wears shoes.” The other’s telegram said: “Send me all of the shoes you can; nobody here wears them.”

As we all know, some people see opportunities that become potential solutions; others see disappointments that cause them to despair.

John 6:1-15 is a Bible story with which most people are familiar and one in which I can put myself in the disciples’ sandals.

People are showing up for supper, and I, like Jesus’ close friends, am feeling responsible for their growling tummies. Which is a problem since somewhere between 5,000 and 20,000 are coming from every direction

. I check my pantry. Nope. One box of Tomato-Basil Wheat Thins and a can of Cheez Whiz won’t do the job.

In Scripture, this is where we find Jesus asking Philip for his answer to feed the masses. Really? Jesus’ needs his friend’s opinion? Philip responds: “Er… Jesus, I’m kind of expecting you to know where we can buy this amount of bread.”

So far, not bad, even though the disciple doesn’t seem to realize that he is addressing the source of all food, the one who daily fed millions in Moses’ day, the one for whom this task is a piece of cake. Or a crumb of bread. Plain and simple.

Now Philip gets practical as he fails to understand the teaching moment Jesus is providing for him. (I can soooo relate.) He asks, “And who’s going to pay for it? Not even eight months’ wages will buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Rational Philip realizes that this problem is bigger than his ability to solve it. His buddy and fellow disciple, Andrew, steps in, pointing to a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish. But Andrew’s attempt to see something positive also is short-lived. He questions how so little can fill so many.

Have you been there? “Here, Jesus, I give my problem to you. Completely to you. I trust you will provide the answer and get me out of this mess.” Whew! You feel better already. But within seconds, doubts creep in. You grab your problem out of Jesus’ hands and clutch it greedily, allowing it to grow and flourish. The cycle repeats itself as you give and grab, give and grab, give and grab.

Jesus, the master at imparting life-changing messages, is about to provide a miracle the likes of which the disciples have never seen. Their inadequacy is soon to be his adequacy.

It’s the same lesson he desperately wants us to understand every time we are faced with a problem, no matter how small or, like in this case, how large. After Jesus takes the boy’s Happy Meal from him, he looks to Heaven and thanks his Father for the provisions. Plain and simple.

The rest is history.

God increased the portions as the disciples distributed the bread and fish to the crowd. Can you imagine the murmuring and excitement as everyone was fed?

The lesson is intended for us as well.

We give God what we’ve got, as inadequate as that might be, and He supplies the rest. Our part is to see the opportunity and obey.

Plain and simple.

April Uniontown 4-H Report


The Uniontown 4-H Club met on Sunday, March 14th, 2021. The April 4-H meeting was the club’s parent led meeting. Parents/adults filled the roles normally handled by the youth 4-H members.

The meeting was called to order at 6:00 by Scott Sutton. Roll call was led by Deidra Maycumber and was “What is your favorite vacation destination.” There were 15 members, 5 visitors and 3 leaders were present. The leader report was provided by Sara Sutton, Melanie Bloesser, and Deidra Maycumber. Members have until May 1st to make changes to projects on the online 4-H site. Wednesday, April 28th at the Bourbon County Fairgrounds in Fort Scott is tag in for sheep, swine, and goats. Also, on Friday, April 30th is tag in at the Saddle Club Arena, in Uniontown, from 4:00- 6:00. Bourbon County Born animals need to be identified at tag in to be eligible to show at the Bourbon County Fair in July. The FSCC Aggie Day livestock and meat judging teams/participants were recognized and presented with team plaques and individual medals. Jackie and Haley Shadden led the communication project presentation on how to write a letter and address an envelope. Melanie Bloesser shared a project talk with the group on how to make handcrafted soap.

The Uniontown 4-H Club will meet next on Sunday, May 2nd at the Uniontown Community Center at 6:00.

Kendyl Bloesser, club reporter

FCC sets May 12 launch date for Emergency Broadband Benefit



TOPEKA – Beginning May 12, Kansans can apply for the Federal Communication Commission’s $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit. The Benefit provides a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on Tribal lands. The discounts will be available until all funding is exhausted or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the pandemic.

Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute $10-$50 toward the purchase price. One monthly service discount and one device discount per eligible household is allowed.

To qualify for the benefit, one member of the household must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Qualify for the Lifeline Program
  • Receive free or reduced price school lunch or breakfast benefits
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current year
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 2020 and a total 2020 income below $99,000 for single filers or $198,000 for joint filers
  • Meet the criteria for a participating providers exiting low-income or COVID-19 program.


In preparation for the program launch, 747 broadband providers nationwide have signed on to participate. Sixty of those companies will offer service in Kansas. Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider or by visiting


More information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit is available at

Medical and Behavior Health Providers Encouraged to Apply for COVID-19 Funding

Governor Laura Kelly Encourages Providers Apply for COVID-19 Telehealth Funding

TOPEKA – Governor Kelly today encouraged Kansas medical and behavioral health providers to apply for the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) COVID-19 Telehealth Program. Qualifying providers have the opportunity to apply for federal funding between April 29 at 11 AM CT and May 6 at 11 AM CT.

“Since the pandemic began, my administration has sought innovative ways to bolster telehealth services, which improve access to quality, affordable health care for Kansans across the state while allowing them to stay safe at home,” Governor Kelly said. “I appreciate the FCC for its partnership, and I strongly encourage all eligible providers to apply for this program.”

The FCC COVID-19 Telehealth Program is designed to help providers cover costs associated with delivering connected care services to patients. The goal of the program is to aid health care providers to provide connected care services to patients at their homes or mobile locations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program fully funds providers’ telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to provide critical connected care services. Providers can learn more and check if they are eligible here.

Through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, the FCC was allocated an additional $250 million in funding to re-open the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. Kansas providers received awards in the first iteration of the program, receiving over $100,000 in medical technology to provide telehealth throughout the state.

“Federal programs can help support behavioral health providers during the public health emergency,” Commissioner Andy Brown, of the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services (KDADS), said. “It will increase the access Kansans have to substance use and mental health services through telehealth.”

“Telehealth is a powerful tool in chronic disease prevention and management,” Ryan Lester, of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), said. “Telehealth interventions can improve clinical health outcomes by increasing medication adherence, set dietary goals, provide a more complete data picture for clinicians, and reduce access to care barriers for patients, especially in a rural setting. Increasing access to telehealth is a real win-win scenario for Kansas residents and physicians.”

The Governor’s Office of Recovery, in conjunction with KDHE and KDADS, held an informational webinar for Kansas medical providers on March 24 to help increase awareness and readiness to apply. You can watch the webinar and review materials here.

Paycheck Protection Program Application Closes May 31, 2021

Governor Laura Kelly Encourages Kansas Small Businesses to Apply for Paycheck Protection Program


TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today encouraged Kansas small businesses to continue to apply for the 2021 Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) ahead of the program’s extended deadline of May 31st. Kansans can continue to submit applications for forgivable loans for pandemic-battered small businesses.

“Kansas small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” Governor Kelly said. “Additional PPP funding will help fuel our continued economic recovery, and I encourage all eligible small businesses to apply for PPP funds before the May 31st deadline. I will continue to push for additional stimulus funding to support our small businesses as we get our state back to normal.”

Led by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Treasury Department, the PPP is a federally administered program providing loans to small businesses to cover payroll expenses. The SBA began accepting applications through Community Financial Institutions on January 11 and through all other financial institutions on January 19. The deadline to apply has been extended to May 31, 2021.

During the 2020 distribution of PPP money, 54,000 small businesses in Kansas received $5 billion in funding.

“PPP has impacted our business in the most positive way possible,” said Andrew Gough, owner of Reverie Coffee Roasters in Wichita. “Quite frankly stated, without the support of the program, we could not have continued to be in business today. Balancing the safety needs of our staff and community with bottom line business survival required support from another source. We now have real hope of surviving this terrible pandemic, both as individuals and as a business.”

The 2021 PPP aims to make the program more attractive for small businesses and target the worst impacted industries through the following changes:

  • Forgiveness has been simplified for borrowers of $150 thousand or less, with self-certification option to attest funds are spent appropriately;
  • Hospitality businesses, including hotels and restaurants, are eligible for an increased loan total (3.5x monthly payroll);
  • Eligible expenses paid for with forgiven PPP loans may now be deducted on taxes for 2020 and 2021 & employers are now eligible for the Employee Retention Tax Credit even after taking PPP funds (reverses earlier guidance from IRS);
  • Employers no longer must deduct Economic Injury Disaster Loans from their PPP loan total (EIDL program was refunded with an additional $40B also);
  • Additional categories are now eligible as non-payroll expenses (up to 40% of total loan amount), with operational expenses (including software, cloud services, accounting services, etc.), supplier costs, damage from social unrest, and worker protection expenses;
  • Additional groups are eligible for loans, including 501(c)(6)s, housing cooperatives, and direct marketing organizations.

Under the newly extended program, $234 billion are available with $12 billion earmarked for businesses in low-income & minority communities, as well as $15 billion in grants dedicated to live entertainment venues. Through Community Financial Institutions, the SBA hopes to encourage greater access to PPP funds. Businesses that have not received PPP funds previously are eligible for loans up to $10 million if they have 500 or fewer employees. Businesses that received PPP funds during the first round are eligible for up to $2 million in funding if they have 300 or fewer employees.

Information on where and how to apply can be found here.

Additional Resources:

  • Information on Community Financial Institutions can be found here.
  • Further general information on loans can be found here.
  • Further questions can be directed to the Kansas Department of Commerce here.

Hedgehog INK Bookstore Expands

Hedgehog INK employee Lynne Pallaske puts a book in its place on April 26. This area is the fiction area of the bookstore.

Hedgehog INK, 16 S. Main, had no more space for their books.


Hedgehog INK is located at 16 S. Main.

Jan and Dick Hedges opened the bookstore in October 2018.

Jan Hedges at the cash register of Hedgehog INK. Masks and sanitizers are available for use to deter the spread of COVID-19. There is also a plastic screen at the cash register.

“We were running out of space for all our books,” Jan Hedges said. “I have wanted a space where I can have author talks, writing groups, reading groups…a space where people can meet for whatever reason.”

So they annexed the back two-story room of the building next door, adjacent to theirs, an approximate 1,200 square foot space, and extended to the back of the current store to make a 9 foot by 16-foot children’s area, she said.

The new space for the children’s area in 9 feet by 16 foot and is located in the rear of the building, just behind the fiction area.


The Hedges started the expansion in January 2021.

“It’s a work in progress,” she said.


Their plan is to start children’s storytime in September, Jan said.


The expanded larger space is for meeting rooms,  and the walls are full of research and reference books.

Jan Hedges walks through the new space for non-fiction and history books. It will be the gathering place for future events. This view is from the mezzanine area.


“We were able to save the tin roof and wood floors,” she said. “The building was built in the 1870s.


The tin ceilings are original to the 1870s building.

The Hedgehog INC building, and the one next door, are all owned by Jared Leek, who has remodeled these and several other downtown Fort Scott buildings.


The Hedges have carved out an office space in the building.

In the mezzanine area of the expanded space is a seating area with large windows to read and relax.


There is seating in the mezzanine area for reading a good book.
Jan Hedges stands at the top of the stairs in the reading area.

“With the additional space we are able to spread out our fiction area more, to be able to see them better,” Jan said.


Hedgehog INK has a local authors section.


The bookstore hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.


The store also sells local products from area producers and artists.

To see the latest, view their Facebook page.