All posts by Michelle Workman

Community Christian to Host Benefit Concert for Hurricane Relief

Community Christian Church and Fort Scott Community College Campus Christians are partnering with Food for the Hungry to provide an opportunity for Fort Scott residents to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts by hosting a benefit concert Thursday evening.

The Stars Go Dim concert, with special guest Merci Neff, will be held at Community Christian Church at 7 p.m. Thursday, with tickets available for $10 at the host church and Ruddick’s Furniture.

For details about the event, contact Larry Davenport, 620-224-4310.

FSCC Opens School Year with New Programs

With the new semester and school year, the Fort Scott Community College brought new features to its students and the community with building renovations and additions to the courses provided.

“We greatly appreciate what you do,” President Alysia Johnston said  of the community’s support for the college during Thursday’s Chamber Coffee, saying the college’s goal is to serve Bourbon County. “This really is your institution and we appreciate those tax dollars that you give us every time, but we really do take that seriously.”

Enrollment at FSCC is up slightly this year, with about 1,400 full-time students and a total of about 2,000 people taking part in the courses the school provides.

The armory received an update through renovations over the summer as FSCC welcomed the John Deere program to its main campus from its former location in Frontenac. Already 23 students are involved in that program, while Adam Borth, vice president of academic affairs, said they hope to grow that to 40 over the next couple years.

The school also provides a welding course, which has about 15 students currently meeting in the morning class. FSCC hopes to provide that in the evening as well when the interest is great enough.

FSCC provides late-start classes as well for students who were not able to start in August. Those classes begin in October.

Janet Fancher, dean of student support services, expressed appreciation to the businesses and other members of the community that participated in the expo provided during the first week of classes, saying that is a great service to the students.

Athletic Director Tom Havron said all the teams have full rosters, just as the dorms are at full capacity, and said they look forward to the season ahead and hope the community will come out to support. The volleyball team is already off to a 5-0 record to start the year and the football team has their first home game this Saturday.

“We’re proud of the fact that truly athletics is a vehicle for these kids to get an education,” Johnston said, adding they are proud of the athletes for their athletic and academic accomplishments.

Johnston encouraged students and members of the community to inform the faculty of any ideas and recommendations they might have for the community college in order to improve its services.

“We are always open to suggestions,” Johnston said.

Cricket Wireless Store Provides Services to Fort Scott

The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce officially welcomed the Cricket Wireless store to town Friday afternoon with a ribbon-cutting event during the store’s Grand Opening activities at their location at 205 E. 3rd Street.

“We’re happy to have you in Fort Scott,” chamber Executive Director Lindsay Madison said, adding she is pleased to see that strip mall full of stores once more after having empty storefronts for some time.

Sean Krahling, area manager of the Fort Scott location as well as eight other Kansas stores, said Cricket Wireless merged with AT&T five years ago, with both groups upgrading their signals and towers to be compatible with each other. As a result, about 98 percent of Americans can get a signal through Cricket.

“Our coverage is actually really good,” Krahling said, adding that customers using some of their plans are also able to get a signal when traveling in Canada and Mexico.

Cricket Wireless currently has more than 4600 stores across the country in states including Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Minnesota and Florida. The provider now includes options such as DirectTV Now and a music provider with more than 42 million songs. Krahling point out plans are purchased on a monthly basis instead of an annual contract and do not include hidden fees. Visit the store for information on their current deals and plans.

“We appreciate your being a part of the chamber and your investment in the community,” Madison said.

Law Enforcement Center Nears Completion

After years of planning and months of  site-work, the new Bourbon County Law Enforcement Center is nearing its completion date set in early October.

Bourbon County commissioners received an update on the project during a meeting Tuesday. Project manager Gary Walker of Universal Construction Company, Inc., insured the center will be done by Oct. 2, with just the addition of furnishings remaining. Inmates are scheduled to be moved into the facility the week of Oct. 30.

in just the next couple weeks, curbs and gutters, carpeting, camera installations, concrete laying and paint touch-ups should be complete while work on the parking lot and landscaping are  scheduled to be started. Kitchen equipment, recently purchased outright by the county, is also to be delivered and installed.


Ride Raises Funds for Wreaths Across America

More than 120 riders took part in the 5th Annual Wreath Ride Saturday, raising money to purchase wreaths to be placed on the graves at the local National Cemetery in December as part of the Wreaths Across America (WAA) effort.

Participating riders met at Buck Run Community Center and then visited a number of locations as part of the ride, including the Fort Scott National Cemetery. In past years, the riders had traveled to an out-of-town location as a group, but the organization had grown large enough that it had become a hazard for the bikers and other drivers.

This year, the WAA’s largest fundraiser raised enough money for 2,053 wreaths thanks to the participation of 125 riders.

In past years, the fundraising has gotten closer to achieving the goal of purchasing enough wreaths to place at all 5,600 gravestones. The local WAA group continues to accept donations towards the wreaths, which cost $15 each.

61st Annual Pioneer Harvest Fiesta

With mostly clear weather and a number of visitors to the Bourbon County Fairgrounds, the 61st Annual Pioneer Harvest Fiesta drew to a close after a weekend of activities.

Events included  a parade, quilt and craft shows, demonstrations, tractor pulls and a bean feed while a number of tractors and other equipment restored by local and visiting participants were on display.

61st Annual Pioneer Harvest Fiesta Begins

The Thursday evening parade kicks off the 61st annual Pioneer Harvest Fiesta and the numerous events involved in the weekend event at the Bourbon County Fairgrounds.

Starting with the downtown parade at 6 p.m. Thursday, other events continue Friday through Sunday, including a quilt show, tractor pulls, an arts and crafts show, a bean feed and a number of demonstrations with old crushers, balers and other equipment that have been restored by local and out-of-town participants.

“Lots of activities going on,” organizer Allen Warren says of the weekend event.

Weekend admission costs $5 and includes all three days of activities and the bean feed Friday evening.

County Commission Accepts 2018 Budget

The Bourbon County Commission accepted the budget for the fiscal year of 2018 Tuesday, giving raises to employees without raising the mill levy.

“I think it’s a good budget,” said Terry Sercer, certified public accountant for Diehl Banwart Bolton. “You guys worked hard on it this year.”

The commissioners spent the past couple months accepting budget requests from county departments, trying to see where money could be saved while also trying to provide competitive wages for their employees.

The commissioners settled on giving all hourly employees a 75 cents per hour raise, while officers of the Sheriff’s Office received a $1.75 per hour raise. These raises will go into effect in January.

“We’ve raised it to where it’s competitive,” commissioner Lynne Ohara said, specifically of the sheriff’s department wages, which he said are now caught up to the average wages of surrounding counties as recorded as recently as 2015.

With the higher wages, the commissioners said they hope to save money in the long run through the retention of employees, preventing the need to train new officers or pay for overtime if they become shorthanded.

Overall, the county has fewer employees than in past years, which has also allowed the commissioners to save funds. The county also did not include potential revenue from the new law enforcement center such as if cells are leased for inmates from other counties.

The commissioners said the county continues to have a need for new industry and jobs, though the current focus on economic development and the positive housing market has had a positive impact.

“A lot of good things are happening,” commissioner Jeff Fischer said.

Total Eclipse of Fort Scott

Mostly clear skies gave Fort Scott residents an opportunity to view the total solar eclipse Monday, as the American eclipse made its way across the entire continental United States.

The last time such an eclipse was seen in the U.S. was in 1918. Fort Scott was able to view the eclipse Monday at 96 percent, as the path of totality passed by only about 100 miles north of the county. That percentage was enough to cause the normal daylight to dim as the eclipse reached its peak just after 1 p.m.

The Fort Scott National Historic Site provided eclipse information and activities for visitors Monday, showing them how to safely view the eclipse with special glasses or through other safe means.

New Pickleball Courts Provide Recreation for Fort Scott

A new sport is gaining traction in Fort Scott, as participants take advantage of new pickleball courts as well as an upcoming tournament to be hosted by the city.

During a meeting in November of 2016, the Fort Scott City Commission gave City Manager Dave Martin permission to move forward in repairing the tennis courts near the water treatment plant on Burke Street in order to build courts designed for pickleball, a sport similar to tennis but with slightly different rules while using a smaller paddle instead of a racket and a ball similar to a heavy waffle ball.

At the time of the decision last fall, Martin said he thought the request and the name of the sport was a joke, but upon research of the sport and requests from local players for an outdoor court to be built, the city and the Recreation Department worked together with help from private donors to fund the project, which was completed earlier this summer.

“It was in bad shape,” Fort Scott Parks Supervisor Todd Farrell said of the old tennis courts during a June city commission meeting. “And we’ve turned it into something great.”

Despite the odd name, pickleball is indeed a sport that is gaining players of all ages in Fort Scott and around the nation. Participants include young families as well as retired couples, playing outdoors at the new courts or indoors at Buck Run.

“I think it’s a nice family event,” Buck Run and Recreation Department Director Tom Robertson said of the sport, adding his own family uses the new courts frequently. “I think we’re fortunate that we were able to get that project…Those are really nice courts up there.”

The city will use those courts for a tournament Sept. 16-17, hosting events such as doubles, mixed doubles and men’s and women’s singles. Registry is required by Sept. 12, at $10 for the first event and $5 for any additional events. T-shirts will be given to participants and medals to the top three of each event.

“It’s an exciting thing to have something new in Fort Scott,” Robertson said.

Some of the local players have participated in, and even won, such tournaments in other towns such as Nevada. But with the new courts, Fort Scott is able to bring that event and other players into Fort Scott instead.

The tournament will host doubles events the Saturday of the tournament, beginning at 9 a.m. Singles events will be held starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Further information can be found in Buck Run’s fall brochure, to be released Friday.

Currently, groups most commonly play weekly at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Thursday evenings at about 7 p.m. and about 8 a.m. on Saturdays. Smaller groups often organize to play at other times during the week at their own convenience and according to their own skill level.

Residents interested in learning about the sport are encouraged to visit the new courts during one of those playing times.

5 Corners Complex Celebrates Reopening after Storms

The 5 Corners complex celebrated their grand reopening Saturday morning after a March thunderstorm blew the roof off the building, leaving the businesses in need of repairs before they could return to their normal level of service.

Residents of the complex—which include the 5 Corners convenience store, Libation Station, State Farm offices, Car Help Mobile Mechanic, Nitro Promo and Haneline Products—told of their reactions to hearing the roof had blown off the building, most of it ending up in the parking lot. But despite the damage, 5 Corners and Libation Station owner Darcy Smith said the community turned out to help in the recovery process.

“The next day, we had all sorts of people here to help,” Smith said.

Since the complex never lost electricity entirely, 5 Corners was able to open the next day, but the Libation Station remained closed for two months while State Farm agent Kale Nelson was forced to change locations until the building was repaired.

Smith said some of those repairs included the new roof as well as ceilings, lighting, insulation and paint. But after more than five months of work, all the businesses are repaired and are fully open to the public once again.

“We are very excited for the complex to be reopened,” Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lindsay Madison said.

The Saturday festivities included food and drawings provided by the businesses and demonstrations by the State Highway Patrol.

Country Place Living Provides Care in Assisted Living

Since their opening in January, Country Place Living continues to provide an assisted living place for individuals or couples that need assistance in day-to-day life.

Located on Horton Street, right next to the Country Place Memory Care living facility, Country Place Living has 26, 1-bedroom studio apartments, and currently houses seven individuals as the facility continues to grow and publicize its services in the community.

“We can provide high levels of care,” Director Amanda Downing said during Thursday’s Chamber Coffee event, adding some people conclude that they are able to provide only limited attention.

Downing said they can provide temporary care as well as help continue rehabilitation for those who need that attention after a procedure. Meals are prepared on-site and staff provides close care for residents, who can enjoy being outside on the porch or visiting with others in a community room.

“Most of our people, once they have come and toured and really seen the difference…it really sells itself,” Downing said.