John Colt, A Sexual Predator, Walked Away From Larned State Hospital

 Resident Missing from Larned State Hospital

SPTP resident John Freeman Colt walked away at approximately 7 a.m. Wednesday morning

Larned – Sexual Predator Treatment Program (SPTP) resident John Freeman Colt, a 42-year-old white male, walked away this morning from Larned State Hospital (LSH) and is currently considered absent without permission. Colt was seen on video walking out of the Dillon Building at approximately 7 a.m. He had shaved his beard and changed his hair and used a fraudulent identity badge to get through the security checkpoint.

A member of the community picked up a person matching Colt’s description. He was taken to the City of Larned and dropped off at the Kwik Shop.  He was seen leaving the Kwik Shop walking north.

“My leadership team at Larned is working closely with local law enforcement to ensure this resident is apprehended quickly and without incident,” Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretary Laura Howard said. “I am in constant contact with the superintendent at Larned and am actively monitoring the situation.”

Colt is 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighs 201 pounds, and was last seen wearing a face mask, dress pants, and a dress shirt. He has a tattoo on his upper left arm with the initials BH. The Pawnee County Sheriff was made aware of the situation and activated the local farmer’s alert. The Kansas Highway Patrol and Kansas Bureau of Investigation have also been notified.

LSH and KDADS officials are fully cooperating with law enforcement’s ongoing investigation. New information will be released as it becomes available.

Obituary of Jerry D. Olson

Jerry Dee Olson, age 82, formerly of Erie, KS, died Monday, June 28, 2021, at his home in York, NE. Jerry was born on January 1, 1939, in Erie, the son of Virgil Olson and Myrtle VanBuskirk.

He moved to York, NE, and started his own business, Olson Roofing, Inc., which he ran for 50+ years until 2021.

Jerry loved listening to country music and was an avid fisherman.

Survivors include his wife Zenaida S. Olson of the home; a brother, Nels Olson; a sister, Neva Redburn; three sons, Erin Dean Olson, Jon-Michael Olson, and Neil Olson; three daughters, Jenny Bohrer, Kaylind Olson, and Mary Ann Olson; six grandsons, Daniel Cage, David Olson, Jared Bohrer, Jeremiah Schneberger, Ryan Dockum, and Trevor Dockum; five granddaughters, Abbra Green, Amber Posey, Breanna Ballard, Kelly Esteves, and Mariah hopper; five great-grandsons, Alias Smitherman, Bennet Ballard, Kyle Olson, Nate Olson, and Owen Green; nine great-granddaughters, Ayle French, Bella Ballard, Brooklyn Olson, Daisy Cage, Emery Green, Kyleah Cage, Madison Esteves, Nico Hopper, and Zibelle Cage; and two great-great grandsons, Elias Wisener, and Sterling Smitherman. Jerry was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Richard Olson, and Everett Olson; and a sister, Norma Hall.

Funeral services will be held at 10:00 AM Saturday, July 3rd, at the Cheney Witt Chapel, Fort Scott, KS. Burial will follow in the Odense Cemetery, Erie, KS. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at

Obituary of David E. Ross

David Earl Ross, age 50, a resident of Ft. Scott, Kansas, passed away Tuesday, June 29, 2021, as a result of a motor vehicle accident south of Ft. Scott.

He was born September 15, 1970, in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of Martin Earl Ross and Kathleen Yevon Rangel Ross.  David graduated from Uniontown High School with the Class of 1989.  He married Retha Lynn Wimberley on December 28, 1991.

In his earlier years, he worked at the family business, M & K Services in Mound City where he worked as a mechanic and powder coater.  He continued working in this line of work the remainder of his life.

He enjoyed restoring and detailing cars and trucks and will be remembered for always having a clean vehicle with shinny tires.  He enjoyed traveling on the backroads and taking the occasional trip to the casino.  He liked to fish and always had a joke or a story to tell.

Survivors include his four children, Tim Ross of Uniontown, Kansas, Matthew Ross, Dylan Ross and Elizabeth Ross, all of Ft. Scott and eight grandchildren, Madilynn, Ryker, Claira, Kathleen, Addison, Bradynn, Jaelynn, and Braxton.  Also surviving are two brothers, John Ross and Danny Ross, both of Mapleton, a sister, Suzie Cliffman of Ft. Scott and his grandmothers, Margie Rangel and Thelma Ross, both of Kansas City, Kansas.

David was preceded in death by his wife, Retha, on July 19, 2018.  He was also preceded in death by his parents and his grandfathers, Leonard Rangel and Noland Ross.

Funeral services will be held at 10:00 A.M. Wednesday, July 7th at the Cheney Witt Chapel.

Burial will follow in the Evergreen Cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 P.M. Tuesday at the Cheney Witt Chapel.

Memorials are suggested to the David Ross Memorial Fund 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

Obituary of Dorothy I. Struble

Dorothy Irene Struble, age 87, a resident of Ft. Scott, Kansas, passed away Tuesday, June 29, 2021, at the Medicalodge of Ft. Scott.  She was born April 12, 1934, in Wallingford, Connecticut, the daughter of Joseph J Hubert and Irene Kosa Hubert.

She married Donald Lee Struble on March 5, 1952, at Rockville, Maryland.  Her husband, Don, was serving with the United States Air Force.  During this time, Dorothy and Don made their home in Florida, Virginia and Alaska.  Following retirement, they moved to Mulvane, Kansas for several years and then to Ft. Scott which was Don’s hometown.

Some of Dorothy’s best memories were made on the beach and at the lake in Connecticut.  She enjoyed being outside and taking care of her yard.  She enjoyed having her grandchildren come and spend the week with her where she took them on shopping trips to Wal-Mart and the Salvation Army Thrift Store.  She collected birdhouses and sunflowers.

Survivors include her daughter, Debbie Rather, of Mulvane, Kansas and her son, Tom Struble, of Panama City Beach, Florida, four grandchildren, Chris (Megan) and their children, Paetyn, Beckett and Graham; Ryan (Jayme) and their children, Westyn and Vivian; Brandon (Angelia) and their children, Caylee and Trenton and Kyle and his children, Ellie and Henrik.  Also surviving are a brother, Conrad Hubert and two sisters, Nancy Hart and Janet Matthews.

Dorothy was preceded in death by her husband, Don, on May 17, 2005 and two sons, Donnie in 2017 and Ronnie in 2019.

A graveside service will be held at 1:30 P.M. Tuesday, July 6th at the U. S. National Cemetery.  Memorials are suggested to Wreaths Across America 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

51 Ventilated COVID Patients Last Week in Crawford County

Local health professionals encourage people to celebrate safely

Crawford County Covid-19 cases are increasing, as well as throughout the region and they are already affecting local and regional hospitals, according to Dr. Tim Stebbins, Crawford County Health Officer and Director at Ascension Via Christi Emergency Department.  


With the July 4 holiday approaching, Stebbins is concerned that traditional celebrations, including family and community gatherings, will increase the risk for transmission of Covid-19 and cause possible serious medical impact, especially on those who are not vaccinated against the disease.  


Since the initial wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, Via-Christi Hospital in Pittsburg has gone from single digits of Covid-19 patients weekly back up into the 20s, and last week to 51 including ventilated patients with admissions on track for similar numbers this week. 


Stebbins says nationally, 80-90% of new infections are in the unvaccinated/nonimmune group, with more than 90% of hospitalizations in the same group. Over the last few months, 98% or more of the deaths from Covid-19 are in the unvaccinated/nonimmune group. 


Health officials have confirmed some of the new infections in Crawford County are the Delta variant of Covid-19.  


As of mid-June 2021, the CDC estimates the Delta variant is accounting for 20% of new cases in the United States. The delta variant is challenging because it is highly transmissible and affects the younger age groups. 

In milder cases, infected individuals may mistake the symptoms for a bad cold and not realize they need to isolate. Common symptoms reported have been headaches, sore throat, a runny nose, or fever.


Testing for COVID-19 is an essential part of containing the disease, and the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas has rapid testing available seven days a week. The Crawford County Health Department can also provide rapid testing.  


For most vaccinated people, the current COVID-19 vaccines effectively prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death from all current strains of the virus. Previous illness with Covid-19 also seems to provide some immunity from the disease. 


“Everyone should consider their own risk when celebrating, including their own current health and vaccination or immune status,” Stebbins says. “If you have any immune compromising disease or illness, such as cancer, you should carefully weigh the risks and consider mitigation.” 


Strategies to help prevent Covid-19 infection include handwashing, social distancing, and wearing a mask. It is especially important that all individuals, regardless of immune status, stay home if they think they might be ill. 


The single greatest protection against COVID-19 for individuals age 12 and up is vaccination. Crawford County has a robust vaccination capability and vaccinations can be found through nearly all local pharmacies, SEK Urgent Care, PSU Health, Community Health Centers of Southeast Kansas, and the Crawford County Health Department. Three different vaccines are available in the County and vaccination is available to anyone 12 or older.


It is possible for all of us to celebrate this holiday safely and to minimize the risk of harm to our family and friends, Stebbins says. “Everyone should consider their own risk when celebrating including their current health and vaccination or immune status. We must all be smart in what we do, consider the risks, mitigate if appropriate, and seriously consider vaccination to prevent further spread and impact of this disease.”


New Tri-Valley Horticulture Specialist: Austin Bolinger

Austin Bolinger. Submitted photo.

Austin Bolinger, 22, is the new horticulture specialist at Tri-Valley Developmental Services, replacing Barb McCord, who retired May 14.

Bolinger is a  2017 Fort Scott High School graduate.

“I started working in the floral industry five years ago, and while working in that industry I began collecting plants and learning as much as I could about them,” Bolinger said. “I also worked alongside Barbara McCord for six months. During this time she taught me so much valuable information about what it means to be a horticulturist.”

McCord was the person who developed the horticulture therapy program at Tri-Valley and mentored Bolinger prior to her departure.

“I chose to pursue this career because it was something that interested me,  seemed like a good cause,” he said. “I was trying to figure out which direction my life was headed when I saw that Barbara was retiring. I knew that I wanted a career that also gave back to the community, and would be something that I enjoyed. I feel like I found that here at Tri-Valley.”

“The best part of my job is definitely those who I work with,” Bolinger said. “Being able to work with the clients in the horticulture program gives me such joy to share my passion for plants with others who enjoy it as much as I do.”

” With the Bourbon County Fair coming up, the clients will be entering an array of items that they have been working on,” Bolinger said. “We are also experimenting with adding some new houseplants into the greenhouse, which is very exciting. We feel like everyone should have some nature in their home!”

“I was born and raised in Fort Scott,” Bolinger said.  “I live with my partner, Estevan, and our two dogs, Amira and Reese.”

He is a member of the Fort Scott Garden Club.

About Tri-Valley

Tri-Valley Developmental Services helps people with conditions that include autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and other physical and mental impairments, according to its’ website

These conditions can result in severe chronic limitations such as:

  • Self-care

  • Learning and adapting

  • Living independently

  • Understanding and using language

  • Mobility

  • Economic self-sufficiency

  • Self-direction in setting and accomplishing goals

New U234 Educators: Ashley Wilcox and Margaret Marino

This is part of a series of new educators in the Fort Scott School District.
Ashley Wilcox, 26, is the new Technology Teacher at Winfield Scott Elementary School.
She has taught for four years in a 4th-grade classroom.
Bachelors in Elementary Education and Masters in Educational Technology
Leavenworth, KS
“Two  cats that I treat like my kids.”
Hobbies/community involvement:
“Reading, Drawing, soccer. I hope to join the local soccer scene to join in more community involvement!”
Why did you become an educator?
“The light in their eyes when they realize they can do anything they set their minds to is my why.”
Did someone inspire you?
“My fourth grade teacher, in Lansing, Mrs. Munsterman.”
What is the best part of teaching for you?
“My favorite thing about working with kids is when they say they can’t do something and then they wind up doing that exact task.”
What are the greatest challenges?
“Being in a new school and district will be challenging but the results will be incredible. There will always be challenges but overcoming starts by getting at the kid’s level and listening. From there both the kids and I can do GREAT things!”

 Margaret Marino, 38, is a  new 2nd-grade special education teacher at Winfield Scott Elementary School.


She has five years of experience as a paraprofessional and two years teaching in the Leavenworth School District.


She received her education, a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, from Fort Hays State University. Her hometown is Pittsburg.



“I have been married to my husband for 14 years. My parents recently moved back to Fort Scott and I am excited to move close to them.  I am one of seven children.  I have siblings in Branson, Overland Park, Shawnee, and Topeka.  I have 15 nieces and nephews that keep me on my toes and make holidays memorable.”


Hobbies/community involvement:

“I love to read!  There is nothing better than reading a good book with a cup of hot chocolate on a rainy day.  I like to quilt and crochet.  Creating something beautiful is a wonderful feeling.  I am excited to start gardening.  My new home has beautiful plants and I am excited to learn something new.”

Car Wash Opening in Uniontown Changes to July 14

Ruritan members facilitated a ribbon-cutting for Patty Olmstead’s business in Uniontown in May. From left, Mark Warren, Kevin Gleason, Joe George, Owner Patty Olmstead, Raymond George, Henry Homan, and Mike Mason.

A new business has opened in Uniontown on the square.

3rd Street Car Wash was slated to have its’ grand opening on June 30 from 4 to 8 p.m. but weather conditions and some parts availability have delayed the opening to July 14.

Owner Patty Olmstead has renovated the car wash that has been out of business for years, and in addition, purchased the storage units next to the car wash.


One can get their car washed and for those with pets, there will be a pet washing station, with a table and shampoo, on the horizon for the business, Olmstead said.

Patty Olmstead works on the money machine at the carwash she owns. With her is her pet, Thomas the goat.

The car wash starts at $2.25 with a car vacuum available for $1.

Olmstead said the east wall of the car wash, easily seen by the community, she is allowing the Uniontown High School Eagles to use for publicizing their accomplishments.

The east side of the carwash is available for Uniontown High School for publicizing student accomplishments.

Olmstead had been looking for a business to purchase, she said.

“I’ve been investigating some businesses for some time, looking for a second income,” Olmstead said. “I’ve found what I’ve been looking for, for years. The timing was just right.”

Contact Olmstead at 620.215.1371. or contact her at [email protected].




New COVID Variant: Stay Vigilant

Governor Laura Kelly Launches Public Service Announcements Addressing New COVID-19 Variant

~ Governor Kelly and Congresswoman Sharice Davids ask Kansans to get tested and vaccinated to stop the spread of COVID-19 ahead of Fourth of July Holiday~

TOPEKA – With the increased presence of the new Delta variant in the region, Governor Laura Kelly has launched public service announcements (PSAs) asking Kansans to stay vigilant as they travel and celebrate the July 4th holiday. Governor Kelly is reminding Kansans how they can get tested or schedule a vaccine appointment and is asking people to stay safe by continuing to physically distance and wear masks while around unvaccinated people.

“As we all begin to travel and gather with friends and family, it’s critically important to keep our communities and loved ones safe,” Governor Kelly said. “We all have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19, especially as new strains emerge. We can all do our part to keep our communities safe by continuing to physically distance and wear masks until we are all vaccinated.”

The PSAs are part of a renewed effort to mobilize Kansans to get vaccinated and for unvaccinated Kansans to get tested to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect themselves and loved ones. According to the CDC, the Delta variant is 60% more transmissible than the B. 117 variant which was previously the dominant strain. The new variant appears to be spreading most quickly in communities that have the lowest vaccination rates.

The Governor will appear with Congresswoman Sharice Davids in the PSAs in the Kansas City area.

“In the Third District and across Kansas, we’ve made progress towards getting more folks vaccinated—but the road to recovery is long, and we have to keep up the momentum,” Representative Davids said. “These vaccines work, and in the coming months, it will be critical to use every resource to get vaccines into arms so that we can put our kids back in school safely, get people back to work, and ensure the continued success of our economic recovery.”

The PSA campaign will continue through the Fourth of July weekend and reinforce ongoing efforts to get Kansans vaccinated against COVID-19.

For more information on where you can be tested for COVID-19 ahead of the holiday weekend, visit:

To learn more about the vaccines and schedule a vaccination appointment, visit:

View the Governor Kelly PSA here. 

View the Governor Kelly and Representative Davids PSA here.

Emergency Food Assistance for Kansans

Governor Laura Kelly Directs DCF to Continue Emergency Food Assistance for Kansans

~Emergency allotments began last spring due to COVID-19 pandemic~

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today directed the Kansas Department for Children and Families to continue emergency food assistance (SNAP) benefits to current program households. The emergency allotment increases a household’s monthly benefit to the maximum allowed for the size of family.

“While Kansas continues its steady return to normal, the pandemic caused challenges for families – and many still need support,” Governor Kelly said. “Extending emergency SNAP benefits is part of our commitment to protecting Kansas children and families during the pandemic and beyond, and ensuring our kids have reliable access to quality, healthy foods.”  

Under Governor Kelly’s direction, DCF Secretary Laura Howard issued a Declaration of Continuing Benefits due to COVID-19 — under K.S.A. 39-708c, et seq. — which directs the agency to continue taking all necessary actions to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the State of Kansas.

DCF estimates the extension will bring an additional $14.5 million in benefits per month to Kansas.

“I appreciate our federal partners for continuing this valuable support for vulnerable Kansans,” Secretary Howard said. “These emergency benefits will help ensure Kansas families have access to healthy groceries as we continue to recover from this pandemic.”

The continuance of the emergency allotment is effective through December 31, 2021, or upon the termination of the federal declaration of a Public Health Emergency, whichever occurs sooner.

No application is necessary to receive the emergency food assistance funds. The distribution will continue to follow the standard alphabetical schedule.

Those that don’t currently receive food assistance but are interested in applying can visit the DCF website at

Celebrate Safely this Independence Day


Keep your holiday celebrations safe from fire and firework-related injuries

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Office of the State Fire Marshal and Safe Kids Kansas would, again, like to remind Kansans of the importance of safety this Independence Day. Make sure your gatherings are safe for everyone by following public health guidance regarding COVID-19 and following safety recommendations for fireworks and outdoor grills.

In 2020, there were a total of 180 injuries caused by fireworks in Kansas.  This is an increase from 2019. The person igniting the firework was most likely to be injured and hands were the most common body part to be injured.  Over half of injuries occurred from fireworks happened on the 4th of July and most persons received burns. The majority of injuries occurred to those between the ages of 25 and 34; but there was also an increase in injuries to those between the ages of 45 and 54. The highest number of injuries were caused by mortars or artillery fireworks. Data was collected through voluntary reporting from Kansas hospitals and administered by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

“Remember that fireworks are explosives and should be handled with care,” said Cherie Sage, Director of Safe Kids Kansas, said. “Children should not light fireworks, including sparklers, which burn at a temperature hot enough to melt glass. We encourage parents to let their little ones use glow sticks instead of sparklers and leave the rest to grownups.”

Grilling is another favorite part of many 4th of July gatherings. Make sure grills are used outdoors only, away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.  Keep children and pets away from the grill area and never leave your grill unattended. Clean your grill regularly to prevent grease fires.

“We want everyone to have a fun and safe celebration on Independence Day,” Doug Jorgensen, State Fire Marshal, said.  “Taking a few simple precautions if you’re lighting off fireworks or grilling can ensure that your family and friends are safe and injury free this fourth of July. If possible, go to a public fireworks display, and let the trained professionals handle the risks.”

Other tips include:

  • Have adults supervise around grills and fireworks
  • Designate a child-free safety zone around grills and areas where fireworks are being ignited
  • Have a water supply near grills and fireworks
  • Have a first-aid kit on hand, and make sure its contents are updated and ready to use
  • Only ignite fireworks outdoors
  • Light only one firework at a time
  • Never try to re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks
  • Never attempt to make your own fireworks
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place
  • Dispose of used fireworks carefully, as they may reignite

Bottle rockets and M80s are illegal in Kansas and extremely dangerous. The use or sale of these banned fireworks is considered a crime under Kansas law. It is also illegal in Kansas to shoot fireworks on or under any vehicle, on any public roadway, within 50 feet of a fireworks stand or where fireworks are stored, and at gas stations or any place liquid gas – including propane – is stored.

Always refer to the local ordinances as to whether fireworks are allowed in your area as well as what types.  Some cities or counties have restricted dates/times or types of fireworks that may be sold or discharged.

In addition, out of respect for veterans when it comes to the individual discharge of fireworks, please keep in mind the noise and stress (PTSD) your activities may cause near VA facilities.

For more information on fireworks safety, visit or

For more information on COVID-19, visit


Chamber Coffee being hosted by The City of Fort Scott


The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce announces that this week’s Chamber Coffee will be hosted by The City of Fort Scott on Thursday, July 1st at 8:00 a.m. at The Woodland Hills Golf Course located at 2414 Horton St. Coffee, juice, and light refreshments will be served, and attendees may register for a prize drawing.

Chamber members and guests are invited to Chamber Coffee events each Thursday at 8 a.m. to network, make announcements, hear about happenings in the community as well as learn about the host business or organization.