Preventing Fatal Crashes

Every life saved is a success, but more can be done

to prevent fatality crashes

The good news – Kansas Department of Transportation preliminary crash notifications for 2022 show Kansas experienced a 3% decrease in fatalities compared to 2021. The bad news – vehicle crashes continue to be one of the state’s main causes of preventable deaths.

“We hardly can celebrate 413 lives lost in 2022 compared to a total of 424 lives in 2021, because even one death is one too many,” said Vanessa Spartan, KDOT Transportation Safety Bureau Chief. “That said, while many states in the nation are experiencing an increase in fatal crashes, Kansas experienced a decrease. Behind those numbers are the families and friends we must remember. But it is positive that 11 more families were able to continue with their daily lives and enjoy last year in comparison to 2021.”

No life lost is the goal, and 413 lives lost in vehicle crashes is 413 too many. Loss of life and serious injury not only leaves families and friends grieving emotionally, but results in economic stress for families, employers and communities.

“We are in this together,” Spartan said. “Everyone sets the tone by example by building a community intolerance toward dangerous driving behaviors that can lead to a vehicle crash. Far too often, loss of life and serious injury could be avoided by wearing a seat belt, slowing down and following traffic laws.”

The public will soon see more information about Drive to Zero Kansas, a new educational traffic safety campaign KDOT is promoting in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The goal is to reduce crashes, death and serious injury through education, enforcement, emergency response and engineering.


This information can be made available in alternative accessible formats upon request. For information about obtaining an alternative format, contact the KDOT Division of Communications, 700 SW Harrison St., 2nd Fl West, Topeka, KS 66603-3745 or phone 785-296-3585 (Voice)/Hearing Impaired – 711.

Obituary of Josephine McDaniel

Josephine G. McDaniel, age 94, a resident of Ft. Scott, Kansas, passed away early Tuesday, January 31, 2023, at the Girard Medical Center in Girard, Kansas.

She was born March 9, 1928, in Arcadia, Kansas, the daughter of Joseph William McDaniel and Gracie Melissa Ridgway
McDaniel. She was the oldest of the seven McDaniel children. Josephine never had any formal schooling, but she faithfully took care of her brothers and sisters and later her nieces and
nephews. She enjoyed cleaning house and cooking. She especially enjoyed making homemade bread with her mother. One of Josephine’s chores was to hang clothes on the clothesline, and
she didn’t like anyone doing her job. She enjoyed playing with her dolls, working in her coloring book and doing puzzles, but most of all she loved Jesus. Her mother often read the
Bible to her in the evenings.

Josephine seldom missed attending the Assembly of God/Life Point
Church in Ft. Scott. For the last several years of her life, Josephine lived with her sister, Frances, in Ft. Scott.

Survivors include two brothers, William Leroy “Bill” McDaniel of Ft. Scott and Darrell McDaniel of Bentonville, Arkansas and two sisters, Frances Pearson and Ellen Morrow all of Ft. Scott. Also surviving are numerous nieces and nephews, and great-nieces and great-nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers, Joseph McDaniel, Jr and John McDaniel.

Rev. Steve Bell will conduct funeral services at 10:30 A.M. Monday, February 6 th at the Cheney Witt Chapel. Burial will follow in the Evergreen Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to the
Josephine McDaniel 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

Community Christian Church Celebrates 50 Years

Community Christian Church.,1919 S. Horton.
A local congregation is celebrating 50 years in the community.
Community Christian Church met for the first time on January 21, 1973.
“It was at the (Scottview Apartments) high rise,” Jerry Witt, who is serving on the planning committee for the anniversary celebration, said. “We were going to meet in homes but the phone rang off the hook that week and we knew we’d have too many for something like that.”


“Sixty-three people attended that first meeting,” he said. “It has never been below that number since. On charter Sunday, 111 people were in attendance and 70 of those placed their membership.”

In the earliest days, finding a place to meet was a challenge.

They met in the band room at the middle school, at Fort Scott Community College, at the high rise apartment complex, and at the old 4-H Building.

As the congregation grew, a more permanent and larger location was necessary.

The ground breaking of Community Christian Church in 1973. Submitted photo.

Once they were able to start building the church facility, it was able to be purchased because all seven leaders: Max Hayden, Ron Billiard, Bill Douglas, Richard Hixon, Jerry Witt, Tom Armstrong,  and Bill Underkofler put their homes up as collateral for the build.

The original church building for Community Christian Church. Submitted photo.

Leon Weece was the only paid staff for at least a year, and volunteers cleaned the church.

The original sanctuary of Community Christian Church, 1973. Submitted photo

Currently they have six ministry staff, two administration staff,  and two janitorial staff members, with one intern.

The Mission

The mission of the first congregation was to start a fundamental, Bible-based Christian church, and there have been three mission statements in the church history.

The current one is “We are a community who loves Jesus, who want to see Jesus loved by our community.”

“We have changed the wording to become more modern over time but we have always stuck to those three basic missions of God, his plan, and his people.” said Karen Billiard, also on the anniversary committee.

The Anniversary Committee

The 50 year planning committee has nine people, and five were present that first service: Sharon Campbell, Karen Billiard, Judy and Jerry Witt, and Robin Billiard-Hartman.

Added to the 2023 anniversary committee are Rita Emmerson, and Billie Jo and Alan Drake, who all came to the newly formed church early in its history, along with Delynn Abati, who has attended Community since 1997.

An aerial view of Community Christian Church in 2023. Submitted photo.


The Current Congregation

Currently there are nearly 500 people attending Community Christian.

Members of the anniversary committee stated their reasons they attend the church:

“The love our church family has for each other,” said Robin Hartman.

“Knowing that we are a Bible-based church,” said Billie Jo Drake.

“The fellowship and care each person has for every other,” Billiard said.

CCC is a mission-giving church, increasing outreach of the congregants.

From the inception of the church, they pledged 10% of all income to missions, according to information from the committee. That number has grown to the 18% currently given to missions every month.

Plans for the 50th Anniversary

There will be one extended service on Sunday, February 12, which is Community Christian Church’s Charter Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m. that will highlight and recreate parts of the last 50 years.

Leon Weece, the church’s first minister, will preach. Additionally, there will be testimonies from some of the charter members and Timothys; people the church has sent out to serve in ministries throughout the world.

There will be a reception directly following the service, which will have a microphone set up for anyone wanting to share memories of their days at CCC.

On the Horizon

The church is currently remodeling the north wing of the facility to be a more inviting and accommodating space for the youth group. They are about 50% done with the remodel.


The service times of the church:  9 a.m. and 11 a.m. every Sunday, with a study hour in between.

They also have programming for students pre-K to 12th grade from 6 to 8 p.m. every Wednesday evening, during the school year.

The church is located at 1919 S. Horton, Fort Scott.

For more information, phone 620.223.1500 or view their Facebook page.

Ascension Via Christi Hospital’s Newborn Screening Program receives recognition

Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg has been recognized for its Newborn Screening Program, a service done 24-48 hours after birth to identify and treat rare conditions.

The awards, given in partnership between the Kansas Hospital Association, Kansas Midwives Association and Kansas Department of Health and Environment, were assessed from 2021 qualifying criteria based on state screening goals. The hospital received recognition for its critical congenital heart defect, hearing, metabolic and genetic screenings.


“These screenings allow us to provide the best care for babies born in our hospital,” says Janelle Wade, director of inpatient services. “If needed, we are able to get the baby immediate care for conditions that may have gone unnoticed otherwise.”


The program, available to Kansas families at no cost since 1965, is a collaborative effort among public health, hospitals, providers and the parents of the babies screened. Newborn screening in Kansas consists of three types of tests: hearing screen to detect hearing loss, pulse oximetry screening to detect critical congenital heart defects and a heel stick to collect small blood samples which can detect 32 genetic or metabolic conditions.


“This achievement speaks to the high quality of care that every member of our team provides to our moms and babies,” says Drew Talbott, hospital president. “I am so proud of the collaborative effort of all involved in receiving this recognition.”


To learn more about Labor and Delivery at Ascension Via Christi, go to



About Ascension Via Christi


In Kansas, Ascension Via Christi operates seven hospitals and 75 other sites of care and employs nearly 6,400 associates. Across the state, Ascension Via Christi provided nearly $89 million in community benefit and care of persons living in poverty in fiscal year 2021. Serving Kansas for more than 135 years, Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. Ascension is the leading non-profit and Catholic health system in the U.S., operating more than 2,600 sites of care – including 145 hospitals and more than 40 senior living facilities – in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Visit