Increasing Childcare Slots Availability

Childcare providers are able to increase child capacity,
thanks to The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team.

Recent funding from the Bourbon County Childcare Coalition, an initiative formed by The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team in Fort Scott, already is making a big difference to the capacity of local childcare providers at a time when Kansas is facing a childcare crisis.

“A recent survey by the coalition found that 95 percent of adults seeking childcare said they would return to the workforce if they had access to high quality childcare,” said Jody Hoener, HBCAT president and CEO. “Childcare is incredibly important not just to our economy, but to the wellbeing of our families.”

The survey found that individuals seeking care for their children are on an average of nearly three waitlists and have been for more than 23 weeks.

This fall, HBCAT was awarded a $45,000 grant from Child Care Aware of Kansas and an additional $3,500 from the Patterson Family Foundation to address capacity.

Within just a few weeks, those funds had been passed on to the coalition, which worked with local providers to understand what they needed to be able to create new slots.

“Ultimately, with the help of this grant, childcare providers will be able to increase 51 childcare slots,” said Rachel Carpenter, HBCAT executive director.

Of the funding, $32,000 is being spent on capacity-building equipment and materials at numerous providers.

Among them: Lana’s Daycare, owned by Lana Beerbower, where the funding was used to buy a larger refrigerator, which increased food storage to accommodate additional children.

The daycare also was able to expand activity spaces to accommodate additional children through the purchase of an outdoor playhouse, activity table, play mat, drawing mat, and carpet.

For Tiny Tots, owned by Susie Castleberry, it was used to buy a bigger food pantry, additional individual cubbies for childrens’ belongings, and an extended playground with safety fencing.

“That will enable us to increase our slots because we can have play areas for both toddlers and older children, and we’ll be able to have more food on hand to serve them,” Castleberry said. “It will help us comply with regulations and serve more children safely.”

“We’re grateful and super excited,” she said. “We’ve been wanting to be able to help more families.”

At Happy Kids Daycare, owned by Lindsay Knopp and Afton Brown, funding was used for curriculum and staff training, as well as salaries for additional employment.

“This means the ability to serve more children in a more impactful way, and for our teachers to have the tools they need to be effective,” Knopp said.

“Having a proven curriculum and early intervention to use with the children we serve is huge for them. It’s a building block that will better prepare them for school with modules in social, emotional, and academic areas, and in daily skills that will prepare them for success.”

Funding also will be spent by the coalition on a new provider recruitment coordinator ($2,000) and on quarterly training for providers, including materials and keynote speakers ($11,000).

About The HBCAT

The mission of The HBCAT is to increase access to healthy food and physical activity, promote commercial tobacco cessation, enhance quality of life and encourage economic growth. The problems of health inequity and social injustice are complex in nature and inextricably linked to key economic indicators. A healthy workforce is a prerequisite for economic success in any industry and in all cities.

The HBCAT formed the Bourbon County Childcare Coalition to bring high quality, affordable childcare to the county.

HBCAT is building up the childcare infrastructure, which is a critical piece to workforce development. Affordable childcare will open opportunities for individuals to use The HBCAT’s services at the Center for Economic Growth.

As a result, they will have access to career opportunities through Southeast KANSASWORKS or to create economic stability through starting a business through PSU Small Business Development Center.

Learn more at Find HBCAT on Facebook at

Chamber Coffee on Nov. 2: Be The Light Boutique Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting

Join us for Chamber Coffee and Ribbon Cutting hosted by

Be The Light Boutique

Thursday, November 2nd


12 N. Main

The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce invites members and guests to Chamber Coffee and Ribbon Cutting hosted by Be The Light Boutique located at 12 N. Main, on November 2nd.

Eddie & Susan Townley, Owners of Be The Light Boutique will officially open their doors on November 2nd. The Boutique is located at 12 N. Main in the former Country Cupboard building in the Downtown Historic District. Be The Light Boutique specializes in home décor, antiques, boutique clothing, and vintage finds. Store hours will be Thursday – Saturday 10am-7pm and Sunday 12-5pm. To learn more, join us this Thursday at 8am for coffee, juice, refreshments, and door prizes!


Contact the Chamber for more information at 620-223-3566 or visit

Click here for their Facebook Page!

We hope to see you there!

Thank you to our Chamber Champion members
shown below!
Facebook  Twitter
Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce | 231 E. Wall Street, Fort Scott, KS 66701

Keeping Safe at Halloween

A downtown Halloween Parade in 2013.

Kids may have to bundle up for the scariest night of the year tonight because of cold weather, and Fort Scott Police Chief Jason Pickert gives parents some other tips to keep them safe.

“Fortunately, there are lots of easy things parents and kids can do to stay safe on the spookiest of holidays,” Pickert said.

Here is his list:

  • Carry glow sticks or flashlights, use reflective tape or stickers on costumes and bags, and wear light colors to help kids see and be seen by drivers.

  • Don’t let little ones walk by themselves. Make sure they are joined by an older sibling or an adult for trick-or-treating.

  • Remind kids to cross the street at corners or crosswalks.

  • When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls. Choose face paint over masks when possible. Masks can limit children’s vision.

  • Drivers – Slow down and be alert! Kids are excited on Halloween and may dart into the street. Turn on headlights early in the day to spot kids from further away.



Safety Advocates Offer Tips to Protect Your Children this Halloween

 Safe Kids Kansas, the Kansas Poison Center, and the Office of the State Fire Marshal remind families to make safety part of their fall festivity planning.

“On average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a vehicle and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year, according to a press release from Safe Kids Kansas. “Drivers need to slow down and be extra alert, especially in neighborhoods, as there will be more children on the streets and sidewalks – and those kids may be focused on gathering candy and the excitement of the holiday rather than being careful while crossing streets.”

“Review safety rules with your kids before they leave the house,” according to the release. “Trick-or-treaters are often out when it’s dark and more difficult for drivers to see them. Children younger than age 12 should not be crossing streets alone on Halloween without an adult or responsible teenager.”

It’s a good idea for children to have a cell phone with them in case of an emergency, but remind them to pay attention to their surroundings, and not be distracted by texting or talking on the phone, said Cherie Sage with Safe Kids Kansas.

“Parents and kids should also be careful with candy,” according to the release. “It’s best to check sweets before children are allowed to eat them. Only eat treats in original and unopened wrappers. Also, be aware kids are in candy-seeking mode, so keep medicine locked up and away, and keep the Poison Help Line programmed into your phone: 800-222-1222.”

“According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly half of home structure fires happened because decorations were too close to a heat source,” according to the press release. “Most of these incidents were started by candles. Play it safe and use battery-powered candles or lights. Remember to make sure your family has working smoke alarms on every level of your home and inside and outside every sleeping room.”

Safety tips from these organizations:

Decorate Safely

  • Keep flammable materials such as hay bales, corn stalks and paper decorations away from heat and flame sources, like candles, light bulbs and heaters.
  • Use battery-operated candles in jack-o-lanterns and when decorating pathways and yards.
  • Set a reminder to blow out any candles and unplug lights at the end of the evening.
  • Talk to your teens who may be attending parties and haunted houses to look for the exits and have a way out in case of an emergency.
  • If using dry-ice, make sure you use gloves or tongs when handling it and do not put it in cups where it could be swallowed and cause severe burns.

Walk Safely

  • Stick to sidewalks or paths. Don’t walk through neighbors’ yards, as there may be a hazard you can’t see.
  • If there are no sidewalks along your street, walk on the road facing traffic as far to left as possible.
  • Always stop and look before you cross the street, and cross at corners using signals and crosswalks whenever possible. Make eye contact with drivers before crossing.

For more tips on how to keep kids safe on Halloween and throughout the year, visit

Highlights from the USD 234 Board of Education Meeting Last Evening

Unified School District 234

424 South Main

Fort Scott, KS 66701-2697

620-223-0800   Fax 620-223-2760



DESTRY BROWN                                                                                                                                                        








Monday, October 30, 2023


Members of the USD 234 Board of Education met at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, October 30, 2023, for a special meeting at the board office.

President David Stewart opened the meeting.

The board went into an executive session for personnel matters.

President Stewart adjourned the meeting.


October 30, 2023




Caitlin Shrewsbury – Resignation – Eugene Ware – End of school year



For the 2023-24 school year:


Abigail Duffy – Eugene Ware – Leave of Absence




Classified Recommendations for the 2023-24 school year:


Justin Eichenberger – Part Time Paraprofessional – Fort Scott High School

Rhonda Hoener – Special Education Instructional Aide/Paraprofessional – Eugene Ware

Brad Matkin – Business Manager


Ascension Via Christi to close Emergency Department in Fort Scott on Dec. 20

Via Christi’s Emergency Department in Fort Scott.


Ascension Via Christi will cease operations at its emergency department in Fort Scott on Wednesday, Dec. 20. This decision was made after a thorough analysis of trend data, patient census, and the current and future challenges and opportunities facing this facility.


Over the past several years, a multidisciplinary team that includes Ascension Via Christi clinical and operational leaders have been working together to understand the current operating environment at the Emergency Department in Fort Scott. This department has seen a steady decline in visits and its overall average daily census. These factors, coupled with other economic challenges, have limited the emergency department’s ability to continue operations.


“After exploring the options available, it was clear that this was the only option for us. There are other providers in the region positioned to serve the residents of Fort Scott and neighboring communities. These providers will help us ensure continuity of care for our patients as we approach closure,” says Drew Talbott, president of Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg.


Ascension Via Christi is committed to supporting associates, patients and community members through this transition.



About Ascension Via Christi

In Kansas, Ascension Via Christi operates seven hospitals and nearly 80 other sites of care and employs approximately 6,200 associates. In FY2023, Ascension Via Christi provided more than $65 million in community benefit programs. 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







Key Industries Annual Warehouse Sale Is Nov. 18 through 25

Sending on behalf of Chamber Member

Key Industries, INC…..

2023 Annual Warehouse Sale!

Key Industries, Inc. in Fort Scott is having their Annual Warehouse Sale!

Closeouts on Mens, Ladies, & Kids Apparel.

One Week Only:

Saturday 11/18: 8am-7pm

Monday 11/20 – Wednesday 11/22: 9am-7pm

Friday 11/24: 9am-6pm

Saturday 11/25: 9am-4pm

Their New Location:

2400 S. Main St. Suite 200 next to T-Mobile

Cash, Visa, Mastercard, or Discover Accepted

Shop year round at

Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce | 231 E. Wall Street, Fort Scott, KS 66701

Holiday Open House Shopping Event Downtown & Around Thursday, November 9th, 5-8pm

Santa sits on a bench in front of The Ironstar and gets a second look from Ernestine Eden in this 2017 photo of the annual Holiday Open House.


The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce announces the Annual Holiday Open House Shopping event, Downtown & Around in Fort Scott.  The main event will take place Thursday, November 9th from 5-8pm with festive refreshments, drawings & deals for you to enjoy and get you in the Holiday spirit! Then, Open House will continue Friday & Saturday, November 10th &11th. On Thursday the trolley will be going store to store from 5-8pm so you can shop & ride!

There will be spirited holiday shopping at nearly 20 participating retailers including 110 South Main, Angie Dawn’s Boutique, Barbed Wire & Roses, Bartelsmyers Jewelry, Better in Bourbon, Be The Light Boutique, Bids & Dibs, Flint + Fray, Hedgehog.INK! Bookstore, Iron Star, Laree + Co, Long Creek Outfitters, Papa Dons, Ruddicks Furniture, Sekan, Shirt Shack, Sunshine Boutique, The Artificers, and The Beauty Lounge.  Don’t forget to enter your name at each store for a chance to win $50 in Chamber Bucks!

Visit or the Chamber Facebook page for more details.  Get out for the Annual Holiday Open House Shopping Event Thursday, November 9th through Saturday the 11th in Fort Scott.


U.S. Senator Jerry Moran Newsletter




Capitol Tour
Jennifer Mathes of Overland Park

Jeff Mathes of Overland Park

Katherine Mathes of Overland Par

Alexandra Mathes of Overland Park

Stephen LaPrad of Pratt

Sally LaPrad of Pratt

Phil Gibson of Ottawa

Claudia Gibson of Ottawa

Ryan Grabman of Wichita

Shelby Jacques of Ellis

Devin Jacques of Ellis

Jerry Koehn of Montezuma

Jane Koehn of Montezuma

Nancy Lawrence of Topeka

Frank Wright of Lawrence

Kim Wright of Lawrence

Jason Ramirez of Shawnee

Justin Ramirez of Shawnee

Mike Hoedel of Matfield Green

Cindy Hoedel of Matfield Green

Bill Wachter of Pittsburg

Mary Kay Wachter of Pittsburg

Karen Carlin Finstad of Topeka

Hon. Lynn Jenkins of Topeka

Matt O’Keefe of Manhattan

Jaylen Lane of Topeka

Oikos Development Corporation
Michael Snodgrass of Kansas City

Kansas Credit Unions
Ronald Smeltzer of Topeka

Pizza Hut Franchisees
Mary Beth Schwanke of Wichita

Greg L. Shelton of Wichita

Jason Staab of Hays

Victor Heutz of Hays

Northwestern Mutual
Kristin Goodwin of Mission Hills

John Goodwin of Mission Hills

Whitney Briggs of Reading

Independent Grocer Association
Jenny Osner of Conway Springs

Large Urology Group Practice Association
Jay Gilbaugh of Wichita

Christy Davis of Cottonwood Falls




Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thanks for your continued interest in receiving my weekly newsletter. Please feel free to forward it on to your family and friends if it would interest them.

Kansas City Region Designated a Tech Hub
On Monday before returning to Washington, D.C., I was in Kansas City to announce that the Greater Kansas City Region has been designated as a Tech Hub by the U.S. Department of Commerce. This announcement represents official recognition of something we have known in Kansas and Missouri for a while: the Kansas City Region and the Animal Health Corridor have the concentration of expertise, research and development resources necessary to be a global bio and medical technology hub. This designation will attract public and private resources to grow this key technology area in Kansas and Missouri, further expanding the region’s capacity for innovation in the biotech sector.

This designation is the culmination of the first phase of a two-phase program called the Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs program, which was established as part of the CHIPS and Science Act that Congress enacted last year. I supported the CHIPS and Science Act to give organizations in Kansas the opportunity to help strengthen our national and economic security, particularly by increasing research in key technology areas, like biotechnology. As a designated Tech Hub, the KC BioHub will be able to move on to Phase 2 of the program and compete against the other 30 designated Tech Hubs for a federal implementation award of up to $75 million. I applaud the efforts of BioNexus KC and the other consortium of members in Kansas and Missouri on a successful Tech Hubs application.

I would like to thank U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, BioNexus KC President and CEO Dennis Ridenour, Greater KC Chamber President Joe Reardon, and UMKC President C. Mauli Agrawal for joining me in making this announcement.


Continue reading U.S. Senator Jerry Moran Newsletter

Inaugural BARK Ranger Event at Fort Scott National Historic Site

Janette and her B.A.R.K. Ranger Freckles. Credit Photo as: NPS Photo/C. Brenner

Inaugural BARK Ranger Event 


Saturday, November 4, 2023, Fort Scott National Historic Site, in partnership with Paws and Claws, will host an inaugural B.A.R.K. Ranger event from 9 a.m. until noon. Hourly activities include guided pet walks around the park grounds, free toenail trims for dogs, pet adoptions, K9 demonstrations, and various pet vendors on Skubitz Plaza including the new Fort Scott High School Tiger Barkery.


Continually from 10 a.m. until noon, low-cost vaccinations ($15 multi-vax shot), free heartworm testing, and low-cost microchipping ($20) will be provided by local veterinarians.


National parks are exciting places for pets to visit with their family while on vacation. Sometimes these new places can be so exciting as to be overstimulating. Join these events to learn how to have a positive experience with your pet in unfamiliar environments. Learn the B.A.R.K. principles so you and your pet can have a safe and fun visit anytime you go to a national park. This program is part of the Healthy People Healthy Parks Initiative. More information can be found at B.A.R.K. stands for:


  • Bag your pet’s waste
  • Always leash your pet
  • Respect wildlife
  • Know where you can go


Fort Scott National Historic Site exhibit areas and visitor center are open daily from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The park grounds are open daily from a half hour before sunrise until a half hour after sunset. To find out more or become involved in activities at the Fort, please contact the park at 620-223-0310 or visit our website at



Bo Co Commission Minutes of October 23

October 23, 2023                                                                                                                 Monday, 5:30 p.m.


The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with all three Commissioners and the County Clerk present.


Karla Cox, Dale Bollinger, Clint Walker, Michael Hoyt, Jason Silvers, and Deb McCoy were present for some or all of the meeting.


Jim opened the meeting with the flag salute.


Clifton made a motion to approve the consent agenda which includes approval of minutes from 10/16/23, approval of payroll totaling $342,018.24, and approval of accounts payable totaling $694,895.54. Jim seconded the motion and all approved.


During the public comments Dale Bollinger stated he spent 28 years providing fire and EMS services for the City of Fort Scott and felt obligated to come speak. Mr. Bollinger asked for clarification on the amount that Clifton had previously stated it would cost to put an EMS barn in the western part of Bourbon County. Jim stated a new ambulance is around $350,000 and Clifton added we need new ambulances now then to add additional for a western EMS barn plus the payroll for additional employees. Mr. Bollinger stated he was trying to make suggestions on ways to operate and suggested putting an ambulance at the Uniontown Fire Station. Jim asked why we haven’t received a request from those out west for an EMS barn in their part of the county. Mr. Bollinger asked questions regarding the current EMS processes and abilities and it was suggested to him that he speak to EMS Director Teri Hulsey. Mr. Bollinger voiced his opinion on the necessity of an emergency room stating that EMS could stabilize and transfer to the nearest appropriate health care facility and asked Commissioners not to get in a hurry funding 1.5 million of taxpayer dollars. Clifton said Dale’s opinion is we don’t need an ER and his opinion is that we do. Clifton stated he has spoken to two doctors that he trusts that advised him we need an emergency room. Clint Walker stated Allen County EMS just ordered an ambulance and is on a two year wait list. Mr. Walker asked that Bourbon County be proactive instead of reactive and informed the Commissioners of a water program he heard about and suggested it be looked into to see if Elm Creek might qualify. Pete Allen stated we have excellent EMS service in Bourbon County and that we need to get an ambulance to people as quickly as possible which is why he suggested putting an ambulance in western Bourbon County. Mr. Allen questioned the need for an emergency room in Fort Scott and stated our taxes are already high and that we can’t afford to lose more residents. Clifton asked if Mr. Allen  knew the estimated loss of industry in Bourbon County if we don’t have an emergency room and stated it is 20%.


Jennifer Hawkins, County Clerk, provided the Commissioners a letter of support to sign for CHC SEK’s transportation program grant application. Jennifer asked the Commissioners to approve the 2024 calendar so that workdays could be submitted to KPERS. Clifton made a motion to pass Resolution 16-23 designating 2024 holidays for Bourbon County. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.


Jennifer Hawkins requested a 5-minute executive session to discuss non-elected personnel. Clifton made a motion to go into a 5-minute executive session under KSA 75-4319 (b)(1) to discuss personnel matters of individual nonelected personnel to protect their privacy to include all three Commissioners, Jennifer Hawkins, and Susan Walker and will return at 6:20. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved. Clifton made a motion to resume normal session at 6:20 with no action. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.


Justin Meeks requested a 5-minute executive session.


Clifton made a motion to amend the agenda to allow for an executive session. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.


Clifton made a motion to go into a 5-minute executive session under KSA 75-4319 (b)(1) to discuss personnel matters of individual nonelected personnel to protect their privacy to include all three Commissioners and Justin Meeks and will return at 6:27. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved. Clifton made a motion to resume normal session at 6:27 with no action. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.


Eric Bailey, Public Works Director, stated the asphalt on Eagle Road from the railroad tracks east to the state line is completed. Last week the crew worked on building the base and replacing crossroad tubes on Eagle Road from 69 Highway to 230th Street. Eric said the crusher quit this afternoon and threw a code so they contacted the company and are waiting to hear back from them. Eric told Jim he looked at the culvert near 30th Street and Highway 39 and that the crew would have to fix it as it had fallen in. Eric said they have added oversize rock to the boat ramp at Elm Creek. Eric stated Murphy Tractor has reached out about going to Iowa to tour the factory where the graders are made. Jim said he wouldn’t be able to go until spring but it is worth the trip. Nelson verified that the 4-way stop that was approved last week was placed and Eric stated he will make sure it is up. Jim suggested speaking about speed limits on gravel roads next week.


Nelson said that 30% of people who go to the emergency room are for non-emergency issues and that people call an ambulance when they could have waited and gone to the clinic the next day. Clifton stated that the problem didn’t happen overnight and won’t be fixed overnight. Clifton spoke about opinions that are posted online and in the newspaper as fact. Jim stated he has been contacted by individuals and businesses who have stated if we do not have an emergency room that they would have to leave Bourbon County. Jim said there is a Community Connection Luncheon hosted by the Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday but Nelson and Clifton couldn’t attend so Jim will be attending. Jim discussed the candidate forum that will be hosted at Fort Scott Community College on Wednesday evening. Jim made a motion that all three Commissioners may attend the candidate forum at the Ellis Fine Arts Center on Wednesday with no county business being conducted. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.


Clifton made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 6:40. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.





___________________, Chairman

___________________, Commissioner

ATTEST:                                                                                                    ___________________, Commissioner


Jennifer Hawkins, Bourbon County Deputy Clerk

10-30-2023                                     Approved Date