Sending on behalf of Chamber Member
The Museum of Creativity…..
FSHS Thespians Direct Children’s Production of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
The Fort Scott High School Thespians present their children’s theatre production of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Kathryn Schultz Miller.
Performances are at 7 p.m. on Dec. 8 and 9 at the FSHS Auditorium. Doors open 30 minutes prior to showtime.
The mini-musical is based on the traditional Christmas poem by Clement C. Moore with a modern take including Izzy the Christmas mouse played by Theodore Bowman, Rosie the red-nosed reindeer played by Mary Racer, and other holiday favorite characters such as reindeer, elves, and even the Abominable Snowman. Audience members will get to join in the fun throughout the performance. Cast members include fifty local children in 1st-8th grades.
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ is produced by FSHS Theatre Director Angie Bin with assistance from Levi Bin. Direction and design is by the FSHS Thespians. Junior Cooper George serves as Director with junior Mykael Lewis assisting. Junior Alyssa Popp is the Stage Manager.
Tickets are all reserved seating and are $6 from fortscotthighschool.ludus.com or at the door. Seating is limited.
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Contact: Angie Bin, 620-719-9622, [email protected]
CITY OF FORT SCOTT
CITY COMMISSION MEETING
Minutes of November 21, 2023 Regular Meeting
The regular meeting of the Fort Scott City Commission was held November 21, 2023 at 6:00PM in the City Commission Meeting Room at City Hall, 123 S. Main Street, Fort Scott, Kansas.
Commissioners T. Van Hoecke, K. Harrington, E. Woellhof, and M. Guns were present with Mayor M. Wells.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE AND INVOCATION: E. Woellhof led the Pledge of Allegiance and said a prayer asking God for guidance for the City, our Government and City officials.
AUDIENCE IN ATTENDANCE: Brad Matkin/City Manager, Bob Farmer/City Attorney, Jason Dickman/Earles Engineering, Jason Pickert/Chief of Police, Scott Flater/Water Utilities Director, Tammy Matkin, Shane Lamb, Kevin Allen.
APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA:
- Wells stated there are (2) amendment requests for the submitted agenda. 1. ADDITION TO CONSENT AGENDA – requested by Jason Dickman/Earles Engineering and Inspection to add a request to pay Invoice #10052302 from EPEC for the UV Upgrade – $286,540.20 to be Item F and 2. ADDITION TO OLD BUSINESS – requested by Matthew Wells for approval of the Certificate of Appropriateness for the Fort Scott Pavilion recommended by the Design Review Board on November 21, 2023 to be Item F and B. Matkin requested that Kevin Allen be extended additional time to address the Commission under Public Comments.
- VanHoecke asked if the (2) items that came in late could wait until the next meeting or if they were an emergency. M. Wells stated that the Old Business item is for the Fort Scott Pavilion and needed to be approved so that construction and drilling could begin on the project immediately. T. VanHoecke asked B. Matkin if he was aware of the additions. B. Matkin stated that he was only made aware of the pavilion item after the Design Review Board meeting that afternoon and that (the drilling) had already started.
- Harrington moved to approve the amended agenda. E. Woellhof seconded. All voted aye.
APPROVED THE AMENDED AGENDA
– Approval of Minutes of the Regular Meeting of November 7, 2023, and Minutes of Special Meeting of November 13, 2023.
– Approval of Appropriation Ordinance 1348-A – $257,614.70
– Request to Pay – Gilmore & Bell – Invoice #8052257 – Preparation of transcript documents, assembly of transcripts, bond printing, and examination of transcript and rendering approving opinion, in relation to the issuance of General Obligation Bonds, Series 2023 for $4,925,000 to the City of Fort Scott Matter No. 600234.2003 – Amount due – $25,000.00.
– Change Order No. 3 – 17th & Eddy Storm Water Project – widen west 15th at National for approximately 85 feet to straighten the BOC with the entrance to True Value. Increase of $10,000.00 approved by City Manager 11/15/2023 to ensure continuation of work – B. Matkin
– October Financials
- Wells asked B. Matkin about the Franchise Fees for the cell services. B. Matkin stated that he has researched it and is currently working with the City Attorney on this item.
- VanHoecke moved to approve the Consent Agenda with the addition of Item F for the request to pay EPEC $286,540.20 for the UV upgrade. K. Harrington seconded. All voted aye.
APPROVED THE CONSENT AGENDA WITH ADDITION OF ITEM F.
Kevin Allen – M. Wells called K. Allen to the podium to speak with no time limit as requested. K. Allen addressed the Commission to request that the City invest in the community by helping financially with his improvements to Aunt Toadies with a grant. He stated that Aunt Toadies is currently the only restaurant on the East side of town. The improvements would be (Phase I) to replace outdated kitchen equipment, (Phase II) renovating the home behind the restaurant to be used for reserved seating area, and (Phase III) to build a Pickleball Court.
Discussion was had about options. K. Allen was directed to request the Small Business Incentive Program that will hopefully be approved this evening and hopefully be the first applicant and potential model recipient.
Approval of 2024 City of Fort Scott Holiday Schedule
- Matkin stated that the (2) changes to the current year’s schedule are the addition of a floating holiday and October 14th. M. Guns moved to approve the 2024 City of Fort Scott Holiday Schedule as submitted. E. Woellhof seconded. All voted aye.
APPROVED THE 2024 CITY OF FORT SCOTT HOLIDAY SCHEDULE
Approval of Common Consumption Ordinance for the City of Fort Scott- Historic Downtown District
- VanHoecke moved to approve Ordinance No. 3756 Expanding the Common Consumption Area. K. Harrington seconded. All voted aye.
APPROVED ORDINANCE NO. 3756 EXPANDING THE EXISTING COMMON CONSUMPTION AREA.
Approval of amended parking lot lease for DCF building
- Harrington moved to accept the first amendment to the lease between Silverrock Ventures LLC and the City of Fort Scott, Kansas. M. Guns seconded. All voted aye.
APPROVED THE FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE LEASE BETWEEN SILVERROCK VENTURES LLC AND THE CITY OF FORT SCOTT, KANSAS.
Consideration of bids for window replacements of Gunn Park Shelter Houses 2 & 6 – Tabled from 11-7-2023.
- VanHoecke moved to accept the low bid from Home Depot for $8,976.00 without tax and not installed. K. Harrington seconded. All voted aye.
APPROVED TO ACCEPT THE LOW BID FROM HOME DEPOT FOR $8,976.00.
Consideration Small Business Incentive Program – M. Wells
- VanHoecke moved to approve the program as changed (in the work session). M. Guns seconded. All voted aye.
APPROVED THE SMALL BUSINESS INCENTIVE PROGRAM
Consideration of approval of the Certificate of Appropriateness for the Fort Scott Pavilion
- Harrington moved to approve the Certificate of Appropriateness for the Fort Scott Pavilion. M. Guns seconded. All voted aye.
APPROVED THE CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS FOR THE FORT SCOTT PAVILION.
Scott Flater/Water Utilities Director addressed the Commission to update that the Proteus Probe was received on November 8th, 2023. A meeting was held for training by Zoom on November 15th, 2023. They have begun using the probe since and collecting data. The results of the probe readings from 11/15/2023, 11/16/2023, 11/18/2023, and 11/22/2023 and an ADM Quantity and Consistency Report from 1/2022 – 9/2023 were distributed to the Commission for discussion.
Jason Pickert/Chief of Police addressed the Commission regarding the grant for $18,000.00 that was awarded to purchase body-worn cameras.
Shane Lamb addressed the Commission to request an update on his request for abatement of all mowing assessments from his property previously known as The Fort Scott Manor. He stated he is coming before them tonight to get a clear title to close with his bank during the first week of December to begin construction on a 22-unit rental. M. Wells asked if S. Lamb would be able to provide a financial commitment from his bank. Mr. Lamb agreed. Further discussion was had on previous requirements needed and requested from the Commission. T. VanHoecke checked the November 15, 2022, minutes for the amount owed that was recorded. The history of the request was reviewed. M. Wells stated that if S. Lamb could provide a financial commitment from his bank, he felt confident that we could move forward with waving the special assessment fees.
- VanHoecke moved to approve the request to waive the special assessment fees up to $9,000.00 for the Fort Scott Manor property once the required permits are obtained, approval by the Fire Marshall and financial commitment papers are submitted by Shane Lamb. M. Wells seconded. All voted aye.
APPROVED TO WAIVE THE SPECIAL ASSESSMENT FEES UP TO $9,000.00 FOR THE PROPERTY CURRENTLY KNOWN AS THE FORT SCOTT MANOR AFTER THE REQUIRED PERMITS ARE OBTAINED AND APPROVAL FROM THE FIRE MARSHALL AND THE FINANCIAL COMMITMENT STATEMENT IS RECEIVED BY THE CITY.
Consideration of City Manager contract – M. Wells stated that he is happy to inform citizens that the current City Manager, Brad Matkin has acquiesced to the Commission’s request to stay on and help continue to guide our city into the future. M. Wells stated he is looking for a motion and a second to move forward with the contract to keep Brad here for the foreseeable future.
- VanHoecke moved to approve the revised City Manager contract for Bradley L. Matkin for the City of Fort Scott with the one item that was added which was regarding performance metrics. M. Wells seconded. seconded. T. VanHoecke, M. Guns and M. Wells voted yes.
- Harrington and E. Woellhof voted nay.
APPROVED THE REVISED CITY MANAGER CONTRACT FOR BRADLEY L. MATKIN FOR THE CITY OF FORT SCOTT INCLUDING THE ADDITIONAL ITEM PERTAINING TO PERFORMANCE METRICS.
Discussion was had between Commissioners regarding the contract.
Consideration of Letter of Interest for Danny Craig to the Parks Advisory Board
- VanHoecke moved to approve Danny Craig for a position on the Parks Advisory Board. M. Guns seconded. All voted aye.
APPROVED TO APPOINT DANNY CRAIG FOR A (3) YEAR TERM ON THE PARK ADVISORY BOARD.
Consideration of 2023 Christmas Parade Permit
- Wells moved to approve the application for the 2023 Christmas Parade Permit. T. VanHoecke seconded. All voted aye.
APPROVED THE APPLICATION FOR THE 2023 CHRISTMAS PARADE PERMIT.
Consideration of Change Order No. 3 – Bennett, Inc. – Project No. 22-PF-016-2022 CDBG Sanitary Sewer Project – Final measured quantities – Jason Dickman/Earles Engineering and Inspection requested approval of the final change order contingent upon CDBG’s approval. T. VanHoecke moved to accept the change order for the 2022 CDBG Sanitary Sewer project and the amount of a reduction of $14,727.00. K. Harrington seconded. All voted aye.
APPROVED CHANGE ORDER NUMBER (3) FROM BENNETT, INC. PERTAINING TO FINAL MEASURED QUANTITIES FOR THE 2022 CDBG SANITARY SEWER PROJECT, AND THE REDUCTION OF $14,727.00.
Request to Pay – Bennett, Inc. – Project No. 22-PF-016 – 2022 CDBG Sanitary Sewer Project – Contractor’s Application for Payment No. 6 (Final) – $164,623.89
- Guns moved to approve final payment number (6) in the amount of $164,623.89 to Bennett Construction for the CDBG Sanitary Sewer Project contingent on the CDBG final approval. E. Woellhof seconded. All voted aye.
APPROVED TO PAY BENNETT, INC $164,623.89 AS FINAL PAYMENT FOR THE 2022 CDBG SANITARY SEWER PROJECT. RELEASE OF PAYMENT IS CONTINGENT UPON FINAL APPROVAL FROM CDBG.
- Matkin thanked the citizens for their cooperation during the sewer project and stated that Bennett, Inc. is “top-notch” and was great to work with as a contractor with excellent communication. M. Wells and J. Dickman agreed.
Consideration to go out for bid of Lake Fort Scott boat ramp – B. Matkin stated that according to the City’s Purchasing Policy, we will need to go out for bids for the boat ramp repair, but it will need to be a short bidding time due to winter weather coming. B. Farmer stated that bids are not required for this project because it is a maintenance project. B. Matkin stated he would like to follow the Purchasing Policy and go out for bid.
- Wells moved to go out for bid for the Lake Fort Scott boat ramp repair work with bids to be opened in one week and engineered by the contractor. Bid was struck. Commission directed B. Matkin to go out for bids.
Consideration to combine CCLIP US-54 Projects – Funds to come from the individual departments. J. Dickman explained that combining Phase I and Phase II of the project, instead of doing them separately. He stated that the state wants to execute the agreement for Phase I and then the city will apply for Phase II with a supplemental agreement if the Commission agrees to combine the projects. This will push the project to bid in the summer of 2025. J. Dickman stated that the benefit of combining the projects has benefits on the construction side with efficiency, cost, and timing. He explained the future of the project.
- Wells moved to combine the CCLIP US-54 projects Phase I and Phase II. K. Harrington seconded.
APPROVED TO COMBINE THE CCLIP US-54 PROJECTS PHASE I AND PHASE II.
Further discussion was had about the benefits of combining the projects.
Lake Properties discussion – T. VanHoecke stated that a complaint was made to him and the City Manager from a Lake resident, regarding an individual who was using city-owned property (at the lake) to run a business. Equipment was left parked there and the appearance is not right. T. VanHoecke went to check out the complaint and there appears to be more than one instance. He met with the City Attorney for options. T. VanHoecke would like to have the Commission direct the City Manager to work with Earles Engineering to finish surveying (6) lake lots that are currently in progress and then have the Commission consider the properties’ futures. He stated that there are also second-tier properties to consider as well. He suggested that the sale of the lots could possibly be a resource for economic development funds, housing funds, Memorial Hall repair funds and possibly take some of the work off city crews who are maintaining those spaces. He asked the Commission to think about it and possibly bring it back to discussion at the next meeting. He also asked the Commission to support having Earles Engineering complete the surveying of (6) lots already in progress to determine what to do with all the land that is at the lake and not currently benefiting the city.
Further discussion was had about the history of the lake properties and considerations to keep in mind, sewer requirements and possible violations, annexation, and Lake Fund usage. J. Dickman commented on lake lots and options for the Commission’s consideration.
- VanHoecke left the room and returned.
- Woellhof left the room and returned.
City Manager comments
City Attorney’s comments
- VanHoecke moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:00PM. E. Woellhof seconded. All voted aye.
MEETING ADJOURNED AT 8:00PM
REGULAR CITY COMMISSION MEETING – Tuesday, December 5, 2023, at 6:00PM
Lisa A. Lewis, City Clerk
NOTICE OF AND AGENDA FOR REGULAR
MEETING OF FORT SCOTT CITY COMMISSION
CITY HALL COMMISSION ROOM – 123 SOUTH MAIN ST.
December 5, 2023 – 6:00 P.M.
- Roll Call:
- VanHoecke K. Harrington E. Woellhof M. Guns M. Wells
- Pledge of Allegiance & Invocation: M. Wells
III. Approval of Agenda:
- Consent Agenda:
- Approval of Minutes of the Regular Meeting of November 21, 2023
- Approval of Appropriation Ordinance 1349-A – $573,833.97
- Request to Pay – EPEC – Invoice #11202301 – Phase II Aeration Upgrade – $537,301.70
- Request to Pay – J. Richardson Construction – Project No. 21-307 – 17th & Eddy Stormwater Improvements – Payment Application No. 7, period ending 11/13/2023 – $17,778.77
- Request to Pay – Bennett, Inc. – Project No. 23-005B – Infantry Substation Sanitary Sewer Relocation – Contractor’s Application for Payment No. 1 – $172,482.75
- Request to Pay – Nowak Construction Co., Inc. – Project No. 22-305 – South Industrial Waterline Extension – Contractor’s Application for Payment No. 1, period ending 11/29/2023 – $119,472.30
- Approval of Ordinance No. 3757 – AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE FORT SCOTT STORMWATER USER CHARGE AND REPEALING ORDINANCE NO. 3597 FOR THE CITY OF FORT SCOTT, BOURBON COUNTY, KANSAS, PURSUANT TO THE FORT SCOTT MUNICIPAL CODE, CHAPTER 13.24.121
- Approval of Ordinance No. 3758 – AN ORDINANCE SETTING NEW WATER RATES AND REPEALING ORDINANCE NO. 3755 FOR THE CITY OF FORT SCOTT BOURBON COUNTY, KANSAS, PURSUANT TO THE FORT SCOTT MUNICIPAL CODE, CHAPTER 13.04.030
- I. Approval of Ordinance No. 3759 – AN ORDINANCE INCREASING THE BASIC MONTHLY CHARGE FOR SANITARY SEWER RATES IN THE CITY OF FORT SCOTT BY AMENDING CHAPTER 13.24.100 AND 13.24.110 OF THE FORT SCOTT MUNICIPAL CODE AND REPEALING ORDINANCE NO. 3596
- Public Comment: Sign up required. Comments on any topic not on agenda
and limited to five (5) minutes per person, at the Commission’s discretion.
- Old Business:
- Advisory Boards Update – B. Matkin
- Lake Property Continued Discussion – T. VanHoecke
- Christin and Chad Young from Lawrence, KS – Request to hold Tent Revival Event at Memorial Hall
- Seth Needham – Cub Scout Pack 114 Soapbox Derby – Good Ol’ Days 2024
- Kirk Sharp – Kansas Museum Conference 2024
- New Business:
- Consideration of Water Crane rates for 2024
- Consideration of CD bids for reinvestment
- Consideration of 2024 MOU – IT Support for City of Fort Scott – Shared Services with Bourbon County
- Consideration of January 2, 2024, and January 16, 2024, City Commission Meetings
- Reports and Comments:
- City Manager Comments:
- Engineering Comments:
- Commissioners Comments:
- VanHoecke –
- Harrington –
- Woellhof –
- Guns –
- Wells –
- City Attorney Comments:
- Executive Session:
Next regular meeting scheduled: Tuesday, December 19, 2023, at 6:00PM
Cathy Jean Killion, age 73, a resident of Uniontown, Kansas, passed away early Thursday, November 30, 2023, at the Medicalodge of Ft. Scott. She was born March 22, 1950, in Ft. Scott, Kansas, the daughter of William Wayne Watkins and Edna Mae “Cricket” Kells Watkins.
Cathy graduated from the Ft. Scott High School with the Class of 1968. Because Cathy’s dad owned and operated the ambulance service in Ft. Scott, she was naturally drawn to a career in health care. She trained to be an emergency medical technician and also a certified nurse’s aide. She was employed for a time with Mercy Hospital in Ft. Scott
. She married the love of her life, John Wayne Killion on August 15, 1970, at the St. John’s United Methodist Church in Ft. Scott. Cathy worked for a short time at Key Industries prior to the birth of her twins. She later worked for fifteen years at Wal-Mart. She later returned to Mercy Hospital where she worked in outpatient scheduling. She retired from Mercy in 2010 after twenty-two years of service. Cathy enjoyed gardening, baking and cooking. She also taught herself how to crochet left-handed. Since moving to the Medicalodge, Cathy enjoyed coloring, doing crafts and playing Bingo. She was a member of the St. John’s Global Methodist Church.
Survivors include her husband, John, of the home; three children, Mike Killion (Diane) of Springfield, Missouri, Bob Killion (Mindy) of Ft. Scott, Kansas and Lori Westhoff (Ron) of Assaria, Kansas; ten grandchildren, Seth Killion, Andy Killion (Abby), Trevor Killion, Hannah Killion, Coleman Westhoff (Maggie), Carter Westhoff, Cooper Westhoff, Caitlyn Killion (Frank), Chelsea Killion and Hunter Killion; four great-grandchildren, Ember, Kaisley, John and Dominic. Also surviving are her brother, David Watkins, Sr. (Teresa) and a brother-in-law, Tom Killion all of Ft. Scott as well as several nieces and nephews and her beloved dog, Cricket.
Cathy was preceded in death by her parents, Wayne and Cricket Watkins, her step-mother, Violet Watkins and in-laws, James and Mary Killion.
Rev. James Brackett will conduct funeral services at 10:00 A.M. Tuesday, December 5th at the Cheney Witt Chapel.
Burial will follow in the U. S. National Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 P.M. Monday at the Cheney Witt Chapel.
Memorials are suggested to the American Heart Association or to the American Cancer Society 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 cheneywitt.com.
The Timken LLC Plant at 4505 Campbell Road in Fort Scott’s Industrial Park will close in 2025, according to a press release from Timken Media Relations Spokesman Scott Schroeder.
“Today, we notified employees at our belts facility in Fort Scott, Kan., that we will be gradually winding down operations there and plan to close the plant in 2025,” he said. “While difficult, we’re making this change to streamline our operations and restructure our manufacturing footprint to better compete in a global market.”
“We will provide support to help those employees affected by this change, including on-site counseling, benefits planning and retention and severance pay. We wanted to be transparent and provide as much time as possible so employees can plan for their future,” he said.
“We’re committed to providing at least 60 days notice before an employee’s last day,” he said.
Approximately 155 employees work at Timken’s Fort Scott facility.
Timken engineers and manufactures bearings and industrial motion products…to help global industries operate more efficiently, according to the Timken website.
The loss of the emergency department in Bourbon County on December 20 is on the minds of many in the community.
Ascension Via Christi Emergency Department cited “a steady decline in visits and its overall average daily census” in the press release announcing the closure.
Gregg Motley, Southeast Kansas Regional Manager of Landmark National Bank, proposed a question-and-answer interview on the current medical issues between him and Dr. Randy Nichols that would answer some of the questions the community has. Here is the interview.
Dr. Randy Nichols, who recently retired from a long medical practice in Bourbon County, answers some frequently asked questions from Bourbon County residents about the future of Emergency Room services in Bourbon County.
Why do we need an emergency room? Would a great ambulance service with high-quality Emergency Medical Services personnel be just as good?
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Emergency Rooms (ER) are mutually beneficial services. EMS is to evaluate the on-scene emergency needs, provide the care available on the ambulance, and transport to the closest appropriate ER. Once EMS is involved, they are legally required to transport the patient to the closest appropriate ER. An ER, on the other hand, is available to both ambulance transfers and “walk-ins” seeking emergency care. An ER has lab and x-ray diagnostic capabilities. It has treatment options not available on an ambulance. Following diagnostic evaluation, a patient can be treated and dismissed or stabilized and transferred for hospitalization to a facility offering the needed services.
Let’s look at our utilization numbers to understand why EMS alone is not adequate. Approximately 2/3 of our ER visits do not arrive by ambulance. Of our total ER visits, less than ¼ ultimately require hospitalization. If most of the people seeking emergency care can no longer bring themselves to a local facility, the number of ambulance calls, and therefore number of transports out of the county, could triple. To staff this would be a prohibitive expense. More importantly, emergencies aren’t scheduled, so if multiple health events occur at the same time without a local ER, our ambulance system could be overwhelmed: people will be waiting longer and some will not get the care they need in a timely manner. Additionally, some people may choose to “ride it out” at home rather than call an ambulance or make a long drive to the closest ER. Both of these decisions put people at increased risk.
A brick-and-mortar ER is foundational to the safety and well-being of our community.
Could a stop at an ER without an attached hospital jeopardize the life of a critically ill patient by delaying a life-saving treatment?
EMS is obligated to take a patient to the closest ER providing the needed level of care. However, that care may be identified as a need to stabilize in the local ER while arranging transport to a higher level of care. This is often a more controlled situation, improves patient safety, and, if for example Life Flight needs to be called, may shorten the time to distant hospitals.
Why is government being asked to subsidize a private corporation? Do other rural communities fund / subsidize their ERs.
Healthcare reimbursement is unlike other business models. In order to get paid, a healthcare organization must meet a rigid group of CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid) standards. Reimbursement is based on “customary and reasonable” and/or negotiated fees. Reimbursement doesn’t equal charges and in many cases, episodes of care are never paid. To have an ER, a subsidy is needed whether it is private or “not for profit.” Of course, the subsidy needs to be based on real and regularly verified numbers.
Many other communities subsidize their health care. In our area, Iola, Garnett, and Parsons all subsidize. Nevada has a ½ cent sales tax to support their hospital. Ottawa, Kansas subsidizes about $2 million yearly to cover the cost of indigent care. In Kansas, more than 50 hospitals are at risk of closure. The Kansas Hospital Association reports many of these would already be closed if not supported by local subsidies.
Are there subsidies for rural health care out there to lighten our local burden? Is it anticipated this will be a perpetual subsidy for the taxpayers of Bourbon County?
Federal designation as a Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) is being pursued. REH would pay $2-3 million a year as a facility fee. This would support an ER and a limited number of 24-hour observation beds. REH would provide long-term stability to our situation and probably eliminate the need for subsidy. Without REH, the need for an ongoing subsidy will be our responsibility.
Will the rural health care system be fixed?
To fix rural health care our legislators must understand how it is broken. Please communicate with them your needs and concerns. In our immediate situation, we need help with waivers of the current rules limiting our ability to have an ER. First is a law dictating that the sponsoring hospital must be within 35 miles. The other is a waiver related to the timing of the closure of our hospital as it relates to qualifying for REH. Please continue to ask our representatives for their help.
Thaddeus and Kelly Perry, owners of Perry’s Pork Rinds and Country Store, Bronson, were recently awarded the Southeast Kansas Region Award of Merit from the Kansas Department of Commerce.
“Both Thaddeus and I saw it as an honor to be nominated,” Kelly Perry said. “I have no idea who nominated us. I literally cried when I received the notice letter. It’s very humbling that the community continues to support us.”
“The store has brought people in, that are traveling through,” she said. “We have a lot of folks who just want to check us out”
When people stop in the store they advocate for the community and Fort Scott, telling them about the attractions and services that are available, she said.
In a letter from Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, she commended the Perrys for their outstanding retail service.
The award is through the 2023 To The Stars: Kansas Business Awards.
“Celebrating your business and its outstanding contributions to the community, state economy, and people of Kansas,” the letter stated. “Your hard work is appreciated and worthy of recognition.”
The business was nominated because it created jobs, products, and services, and has been innovating and diversifying the local marketplace, building community identity, and more, according to the governor’s letter.
The business demonstrated “tenacity, determination, and creativity that was needed to persevere, regardless of the circumstances,” Governor Kelly said in the letter.
The Perrys started out producing pork rind snacks from their home in Bronson, a small town of 300 people in western Bourbon County, in 2017.
They opened a specialty store in 2022 in Bronson to sell their products and other food, including fresh produce, which is needed when one lives 20 miles from a large grocery store.
To learn more: Fresh Produce Pre-Order Sales Began This Month In Bronson
“We also now have Perry’s Produce Boxes available one time a month,” Kelly said. “Pick-up is at Bids & Dib (in Fort Scott). Purchases are all done via our website www.PerrysPorkRinds.com and customers can select pick-up in Bronson or Ft. Scott. Boxes are each just $18 and usually have double that amount of money worth of produce. Pick up details on our website and FB page.”
One other specialty food is fudge, made on-site.
“The fudge is made by Dee Byrd and I,” Kelly said.
In October 2023 they opened a Recreational Vehicle Park at their site on Hwy. 54, which runs through the town. This venture is to supply accommodations for agri-tourism to the region.
To learn more: Perry’s Open an RV Campground in Bronson
This month they provided honor meals to 59 veterans in their storefront on Veteran’s Day. “We provided brisket, smoked by Thaddeus, loaded baked potatoes, and baked beans. We plan to do this again next year,” she said.
They currently have five full-time and one part-time employee.