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FS City Drops Water Pressure to Change Hydrant on August 10

The City of Fort Scott Water Distribution Department will be changing out a fire hydrant at 1st and Grant Street on Wednesday, August 10th, 2022.

In order to do this safely and without a long term water outage, the water pressure in the area from Broadway to Cameron along 1st Street will need to be reduced.

Some residents may experience low or no water pressure during this time.

The Water Distribution Department will try to keep this situation as short as a time frame as possible.

Please watch for the water pressure drop around 9:00 a.m. that morning.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have any questions or concerns, please call 620-223-0550 and ask for Water Distribution Department.




U.S. Senator Jerry Moran Newsletter

Senate Passes SFC Heath Robinson PACT Act
This week, the Senate approved historic health care for our nation’s veterans through the SFC Heath Robinson PACT Act, passing with a vote of 86-11. I introduced this bipartisan legislation, advocated for it and voted for it because our veterans have waited long enough for care and benefits. I look forward to the President signing this important legislation into law this week.

This is an historic moment for our nation’s veterans. My legislation with Sen. Tester will provide comprehensive relief for all generations of veterans, from Agent Orange to the 3.5 million post-9/11 veterans exposed to burn pits during their deployments. Our nation’s veterans and their families will no longer have to fear being turned away from the VA for illnesses related to toxic-exposures. Thank you to SFC Heath Robinson’s family and all the veterans and advocates for their input and commitment to get this long-overdue bill passed through Congress.

I spoke on the Senate floor regarding the SFC Heath Robinson PACT Act shortly before the bill’s final passage. You can watch my full speech here.


Voting to Oppose Senate Democrats’ Tax and Spending Bill

I voted to oppose the Democrats’ tax and spending bill. The idea that spending more money and increasing taxes will be helpful in combating inflation is false and confirmed by the Congressional Budget Office. Rather than taking steps to curb spending and expand energy production, the so-called Inflation Reduction Act will raise taxes on small businesses and working families, including by hiring 87,000 more IRS agents to target more Americans with tax audits. Instead, the Senate should be focused on pro-job, pro-growth policies to reduce the cost of gas, goods and services for Kansans.

Meeting with the Kansas National Guard
On Tuesday, I met with Major General David Weishaar, the Adjutant General of the Kansas National Guard. As the Adjutant General, Major General Weishaar serves as the Commander for 7,000 Airmen and Soldiers in the Kansas National Guard and oversees their training and readiness. MG Weishaar is also responsible in assisting more than 100 county emergency managers and 2,300 state and federal employees, all aligned toward the mission of providing rapid response to crises and security in Kansas. Our conversation this past week centered on the military’s current recruiting concerns which has the potential to greatly impact the readiness of the Kansas National Guard.

I remain committed to finding solutions to the military’s recruiting crisis and will continue to advocate for sound policies that maintain the high standards to serve in our military while working to bring testing requirements into the 21st century. We also discussed the incredible work of the 284th Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS) and their Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Airmen that provide critical support in coordinating aircraft, fires and aerospace operations for the Joint Force. Many thanks to MG Weishaar for his leadership of our Kansas National Guard and thank you to all of our brave men and women who continue to answer the call to serve our country.

Meeting with National Association of Police Athletic Leagues Youth Summit
On Thursday, I met with Detective Elaine Moore, Officer Rodney Boston, members of the Kansas City Kansas Police Department, as well as four young Kansans who were in Washington, D.C. attending the National Association of Police Athletic Leagues Youth Summit. During our meeting, we spoke about the work the Police Athletic League of Kansas City is doing to provide our youth with positive interactions with members of law enforcement and the positive impact it has on their lives. The Police Athletic League of Kansas City offers interactive programs for youth and members of the Kansas City Police Department. Five full-time officers, two sergeants and a captain are dedicated to building lifelong relationships with encouragement and commitment to the children they serve every day. I remain committed to assisting the Police Athletic League of Kansas City Kansas and other youth-focused organizations with their work of providing young Kansans with opportunities. Thank you to the Police Athletic League and all the officers who are involved for your dedication to making a better life for many.


Meeting with Colombian Ambassador Juan Carlos Pinzón
This week, I met with Ambassador Juan Carlos Pinzón of Colombia again to discuss maintaining strong relations between our two countries and the challenges currently facing Colombia. I sponsored legislation that promotes economic growth, strengthens security cooperation and advances peace and democratic governance. All of this is crucial as China and Russia expand their influence in Latin America and other countries in the region are ruled by authoritarians. Colombia has recently elected a new president, and Ambassador Pinzón will be returning home. I have appreciated the insight he has provided during his visits to my office, and I look forward to continuing to build relationships that serve the interests of the United States and our friends in Colombia.

Voting to Admit Finland and Sweden into NATO
Finland and Sweden have long been our partners in Europe, and this week I supported admitting them into NATO to further strengthen the alliance. These countries joining NATO will enhance defense and security cooperation in Europe and beyond.

Meeting with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley
On Wednesday, I met with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, to discuss the military issues facing our nation today. I especially appreciate the interest General Milley has taken in Kansas, when I hosted him at Fort Riley and during his visits to Fort Leavenworth. During our meeting, I asked General Milley about the military’s recruiting crisis and expressed my commitment to continue working with my colleagues in the Senate to assist in finding solutions to these issues. We also discussed at length the war in Ukraine and how Vladmir Putin has destroyed the rules-based order established to maintain peace between sovereign nations. In addition, we discussed the growing competition between the U.S. and China and the risks posed to our national security by China’s continued aggression towards Taiwan. As a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, I will continue to support and advocate for funding to increase the readiness of the Joint Force to protect our country at home and abroad. Thank you to General Milley for your service and leadership of our country’s military.

ImageThese photographs are provided by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – Public Affairs as a courtesy and may be printed by the subject(s) in the photograph for personal use only. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not otherwise be disseminated, reproduced, or broadcast without the written permission of the CJCS – Public Affairs Officer. These photographs may not be used in any commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement by the Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or the Joint Staff.

Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Media and Broadband Hearing
On Tuesday, I attended a Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Media and Broadband hearing about the future of spectrum policy in the U.S., including the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) expiring spectrum auction authority. Spectrum is a critical resource that allows you to talk on your cell phone, enables music to play on the radio and ensures weather satellites are able to track storms. Congress has authorized the FCC to allocate portions or “bands” of spectrum for specific uses, like cellular communications, and to auction licenses to these bands to companies for their exclusive or shared use. These spectrum auctions raise revenue for the federal government and, if Congress has specifically authorized the sale of the band, Congress may have a say in how the funds are spent. Unfortunately, the number of spectrum bands that Congress has specifically authorized and will have a say in how the funds are spent is small.

This year, at the end of September, the FCC’s spectrum auction authority given to it by Congress will expire. During Tuesday’s hearing, I stated that Congress should authorize the FCC’s spectrum auction authority for 18 months to allow time for a “pipeline” of spectrum bands to be specifically authorized by Congress. This will make certain that Congress has a say in how the auction proceeds are spent and will provide certainty to industry stakeholders that are working to increase access to 5G. I will continue to work with my colleagues on the Commerce Committee to maintain the FCC’s spectrum auction authority and to increase the availability of advanced communications networks across the country.

Speaking at the Commercial Drone Alliance Reception
This week, I spoke to a gathering of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) industry leaders in Washington, D.C. The gathering was a great opportunity to celebrate U.S. leadership in advanced aviation. For nearly 100 years, Kansans have promoted and embodied a culture of innovation in aerospace, which is more crucial today than ever before if the United States is to maintain our superiority in aerospace development. The innovation happening within industry and academia back home is critical for our future, and it was great to have the opportunity to highlight this fact to the more than 250 industry representatives in the audience.


Announcing Federal Investment for Pittsburg State University
On Monday, I joined Pittsburg State University President Dan Shipp to announce a $3 million federal investment to establish a new Center for Commercialization at the National Institute for Materials Advancement (NIMA) at Pitt State. The Kansas Polymer Research Center and NIMA are internationally-recognized research facilities in the world of polymers and plastics, leading cutting-edge projects that could revolutionize the plastics industry. The new center will provide opportunities for the innovators at the university to take their work and turn it into job-creating businesses. I appreciate Pitt State’s commitment to ensuring that the advancements made in the lab make it out into the world to benefit our local and regional economy. It was great to meet PSU President Dan Shipp for the first time, and I know he will do an excellent job in his role. Thank you to President Shipp and Shawn Naccarato for your hospitality, and to Daron Hall and Jay Byers at the city and Blake Benson with the chamber of commerce for the community’s support of Pitt State in their efforts of remaining a global leader in polymers and plastics.


Visiting the Girard Medical Center
Also on Monday, before heading back to Washington, I had the opportunity to visit the Girard Medical Center, where I toured their facility and met with the center’s medical staff and administration. It was great to meet members of the faculty and learn more about their experiences working in a small-town Kansas medical center. With the negative impacts from the pandemic, supply chain issues and workforce shortages, I appreciate the dedication of health care providers now more than ever. Thank you to the center’s CEO, Ruth Duling for the warm welcome, and to everyone at Girard Medical for your continued efforts to provide southeastern Kansas with exceptional care.


Announcing New Federal Resources for Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office
Earlier this week, I announced new federal resources for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office. As the lead Republican on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Department of Justice, it is my priority to support our law enforcement and provide officers and departments with the resources they need to keep our communities safe, including our more rural areas. I look forward to working with Sheriff Groves and law enforcement leaders across the state to continue bringing these crucial public safety tools to Kansas. Thank you to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Dave Groves, and County Commissioners Lorie Johnson, Myra Carlisle Frazier and Cory Moates for joining me for this announcement.


Touring Key Apparel in Fort Scott
While in Bourbon County, I toured Key Apparel in Fort Scott, a clothing wholesaler that manufactures durable workwear from men, women and children. This local Kansas business first opened in Fort Scott in 1908 and has expanded throughout the years as it rapidly gained a reputation for producing quality work apparel. Known for their iconic bib overalls worn by farmers, ranchers and blue-collar workers, Key Apparel was announced as the official clothing supplier of the Kansas FFA earlier this year. This company also partners with the Kansas State Fair. Thank you to President and CEO Chris Barnes for providing a tour of the facility and for sharing how consistent, long-term policies are important to him and other business owners to provide stability as they navigate markets and government regulations. Special thanks as well to Rob Harrington, Bourbon County Economic Development Director, Katie Harrington, Fort Scott Mayor, and Kelly Zellner, Fort Scott City Manager for joining us.


Meeting with Kansans in Washington, D.C.
Kallisti Mandanis from Andover High School
During this past summer, Kallisti Mandanis has been serving as my Senate page in Washington, D.C. I appreciate her hard work throughout her time here in the Senate, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for her as she returns back to Kansas this fall. I hope her time in the Senate, learning about our federal government and serving Kansans, has been a valuable experience for her.


Capitol Tour Groups
Visiting with Kansans during their trips to Washington, D.C. is a highlight for me. This past week, I met with several groups during their visits to my office for Capitol tours. It is always great to meet with these folks and to speak with Kansans about the issues that are important to them.

This great group below includes visitors from many areas: Barbara Gatewood (Manhattan), Deborah Marsh (Rostraver, PA), and Karrah Timko (Elizabeth, PA); Marcia Williams (Topeka), Kim Williams-Gaston (Topeka), and Jaelyn Gaston (Topeka); Dustin and Ashleigh Mengarelli and children, Cooper and Keaton (Topeka) and Jon and Desiree Gaul and son, Adler (Springfield, VA); Ellis and Karen Hutchison and foster son, Tommy Reynolds (Belton, TX).


Stendebach Family from Olathe
I enjoyed meeting Randy and Steven Stendebach from Olathe this week while they were Washington for a Capitol tour with my office.


Grandcolas Family from Leawood
It was great to meet with Gary and Margaret Grandcolas and their son David from Leawood during their visit to my D.C. office for a tour this week.


1st Infantry Division Soldiers from Fort Riley
It was great to visit with 1st Infantry Division soldiers from Fort Riley as they were getting ready for the Dodge City Days 5k & 1 Mile Shootout!


Now Accepting 2022 Service Academy Applications
As students are preparing for the upcoming school year, I want to remind them of the opportunity to apply to a United States Service Academy. One of my favorite duties as a U.S. Senator is appointing Kansans to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland; the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York.

For the list of requirements and to apply, you can visit my website here. All application materials are due to my Olathe office by Friday, September 2, 2022. After applications have been reviewed, applicants will be notified of interviews with my Service Academy Selection Board, which will take place on Saturday, September 24, 2022 at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas.

Honored to Serve You in Washington
It is an honor to serve you in Washington, D.C. Thank you to the many Kansans who have been calling and writing in to share their thoughts and opinions on the issues our state and country face. I appreciate the words of Kansans, whether in the form of a form of letter, a Facebook comment or a phone call, who wish to make their voice heard.

Please let me know how I can be of assistance. You can contact me by email by clicking here. You can also click here to contact me through one of my Kansas offices or my Washington, D.C. office.


Very truly yours,

To unsubscribe from this newsletter, please click here.



Obituary of Elizabeth Hall

Elizabeth Ann Hall, age 58, loving mother of two children, Amanda Knorr and Willis Hall and granddaughter Jessica Knorr, passed away in the early hours Friday, August 5, 2022, due to kidney failure, at Stormont Vail Hospital, Topeka, KS.

She was born on May 20, 1964, in Fort Scott, KS, the daughter of Barbara Kramer May.  Elizabeth had one brother, Michael May.  She was a loving and caring mother and nana.  She loved her two children and was so excited when she became a grandmother in 2016.  She spoiled her granddaughter who was the world to her.  Elizabeth loved watching movies, listening to music, and hanging out with her family, especially her granddaughter.  She will be greatly missed.

Survivors include two children, Amanda Knorr and husband Robert, Junction City, KS, and Willis Hall, Ft. Scott; and a granddaughter, Jessica Knorr.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Barbara May, a brother, Michael May, and her husband Charles Hall.

Funeral services will be held at 10:00 AM Wednesday, August 10th, at the Cheney Witt Chapel.

Burial will follow in the Oak Grove Cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 9:00 AM until service time Wednesday morning at the funeral home.

Memorials are suggested to the Elizabeth Hall Memorial Fund and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, PO Box 347, 201 S. Main St., Ft. Scott, KS 66701.  Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at

Friday Night Free Concert: Church of Christ, A Cappella

Ralph Carlson introduces the Friday Night Concert musicians May 2019.

This week’s Friday Night Concert will be presented by the Church of Christ (15th and Crawford streets). The music will feature a program of a cappella hymns and gospel songs.


“The singers represent multiple ages and they really shine with a passion for blending harmonies with their musical styling of the gospel,” concert-series organizer Ralph Carlson said. “Come out and join us; it’s a great opportunity to see friends and enjoy some beautiful encouraging music. We are happy to welcome this church family back to the park pavilion.”


The one-hour concert begins at 7 p.m. at the Heritage Park Pavilion at First and Main streets. The shows, sponsored by the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce, are free and open to the public. Dave Oas and Jim Butler provide the sound each week. Due to limited seating, attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.


In the event of inclement weather, the concert will be moved indoors.

Trees and Shrub Watering Guidelines

Krista Harding
District Extension Agent, Horticulture
Southwind Extension District
111 S. Butler
Erie, KS 66733
Office: 620-244-3826
Cell: 620-496-8786


According to the drought monitor, all of the counties of the Southwind Extension District are in a moderate drought. Unfortunately, in looking at the drought forecast, it doesn’t look like we will be out of this pattern anytime soon either. If you haven’t been supplemental watering trees and shrubs, you need to be – especially any that were newly planted this spring.

Newly planted or young trees and shrubs often don’t survive the first year because of improper watering. Proper watering throughout the first growing season often means the difference between success and failure.

Water should be retained around the base of the newly planted trees by building a low berm just outside the planting hole. A weekly soaking to apply approximately 10 gallons of water should be sufficient to support spring or summer planted trees and shrubs on most sites.  Larger balled and burlaped or spade-dug trees will require more water. For every inch of trunk diameter greater than two inches, an additional ten gallon should be applied. In the absence of rainfall, continue watering newly planted deciduous trees and shrubs until their leaves fall. Evergreens should be watered until the soil freezes.

It is easy to overwater and keep the soil excessively wet and cause a different set of problems. Over watering can cause “wet wilt” which looks similar to wilt caused by dryness. When soil stays wet for an extended time, root damage can occur due to oxygen depletion. As a result, leaves wilt and do not recover, even if water is added.

During the second and third growing seasons after planting, supplemental water every 10 to 14 days if it doesn’t rain and soil moisture indicates a need. Check moisture with a trowel, rod, screwdriver or probe.

With established trees and shrubs, supplemental watering should be done during periods of drought. Trees that have been planted for three to five years will benefit from deep, regular watering.  But the interval can be extended to two to three weeks between applications.

Check the soil moisture and use it as a guide. Soak the soil to a minimum depth of 12 inches, out to and beyond the drip line, every three to four weeks if it doesn’t rain significantly. Avoid watering established trees at the base of the trunk because the absorbing roots are further out. Shrubs should also be watered so the soil is moistened to a depth of 8 to 12 inches every couple of weeks.

Water can be applied through a soaker hose or by allowing a pencil thin stream of water from a garden hose to soak the ground. Water lances or “root feeders” are not as suitable as applying to the surface because they can actually introduce the water deeper than where the surface feeding roots are located.

If you have trees or shrubs that are not looking good, give me a call and a home visit can be scheduled to evaluate the problem.

Krista Harding is a K-State Research and Extension Horticulture agent assigned to Southwind District and may be reached at [email protected] or 620-244-3826.


K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

KDOT’s Cost Share Program applications being accepted

The Kansas Department of Transportation is now accepting applications for the fall 2022 round of the agency’s Cost Share Program. More than $100 million has been given to Kansas communities since the Cost Share Program’s began in 2019.

The Cost Share Program provides financial assistance to local entities for construction projects that improve safety, leverage state funds to increase total transportation investment and help both rural and urban areas of the state improve the transportation system. This is the seventh round of projects to receive funding.

“The continuation of the Cost Share Program shows KDOT’s ongoing commitment to improving transportation and creating economic growth and job opportunities across Kansas,” said Michelle Needham, Economic Development Programs Manager. “Past Cost Share participants have proven this program to be the financial boost that many small and large communities needed to achieve their project goals.”

An informational webinar on the program will take place on Thursday, Aug. 18, at 10 a.m. The application process will be discussed, and attendees can ask questions. To register for the webinar, go to:

All transportation projects are eligible, including roadway (on and off the state system), rail, airport, bicycle/pedestrian and public transit. Candidate projects should include investments that provide transportation benefits and are not eligible for other KDOT programs. This round of grant funding has an overall budget of $11 million, with a maximum awarded amount of $1.5 million per project.

The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 15. More information and the application link are on KDOT’s website at All applications will be completed online, and a sample PDF application will be available for preview.

Please contact Needham, [email protected], with any questions.

Bourbon County Commission Agenda for Aug. 9

Bourbon County Commission Room

1st Floor, County Courthouse

210 S. National Avenue

Fort Scott, KS 66701

Tuesdays starting at 9:00

Date: August 9, 2022

1st DistrictLynne Oharah Minutes: Approved: _______________

2nd DistrictJim Harris Corrected: _______________________

3rd DistrictClifton Beth Adjourned at: _______________

County ClerkAshley Shelton


Call to Order

Flag Salute

Approval of Minutes from previous meeting

Eric Bailey Road & Bridge Report

Bill Martin Drug Detectives

Bob Reed Jail Update

Teri Hulsey EMS Update

Justin Meeks County Counselor Comment

Susan Bancroft Chief Financial Officer Comment

Shane Walker Chief Information Officer Comment

Public Comment

Commission Comment

Justifications for Executive Session:

KSA 754319(b)(1) To discuss personnel matters of individual nonelected personnel to protect their privacy

KSA 754319(b)(2) For consultation with an attorney for the public body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorneyclient relationship

KSA 754319(b)(3) To discuss matters relating to employeremployee negotiations whether or not in consultation with the representative(s) of the body or agency

KSA 754319(b)(4) To discuss data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trust, and individual proprietorships

KSA 754319(b)(6) For the preliminary discussion of the acquisition of real property

KSA 754319(b)(12) To discuss matters relating to security measures, if the discussion of such matters at an open meeting would jeopardize such security measures.

Blind Trust of A Child by Carolyn Tucker

Keys to the Kingdom


When I was in grade school, the playground equipment eventually became boring, so my best friend and I decided to spice up recess by concocting our own game. We didn’t give it a name, but it could have been called “Blind Trust.“ With my eyes closed, Jonita would lead me around the playground. Then we would switch roles. It was a simple game with only two rules: 1) eyes had to stay completely shut; 2) leader promised not to guide the other into a tree, rock wall, ditch, etc. We had a solemn understanding that when either of us said, “I promise,” we could be at peace and trust that the other one would faithfully keep her word…no matter what. Before I began writing this lede, I shot Jonita a text and asked if she remembered playing this game. She responded, “Yes I do, it required trust.“


The definition of blind: unable to see, lacking awareness, or impossible to see around.     The definition of trust: firm belief in the reliability, ability, or strength of someone or something. Because I couldn’t see, I had to completely trust Jonita to lead me safely through the obstacles on the playground. God is our faithful and trustworthy Leader and He’s promised in His Word that He won’t run us into a tree just for laughs. Sometimes we believers have trouble with our trust. We say we trust God, but are we really believing and acting like it? Or is that just something clever that’s printed on our money?


We put our trust in a lot of things during our lifetime. When our family vacationed in  Memphis, TN, I trusted that the bridge stretching across the muddy Mississippi wouldn‘t collapse as we drove across it. God’s Word makes it so clear that He can be completely trusted. Aunt Charlene inspired me to choose a purposeful word for 2022, because that’s something she’s done for a few years. She believes it helps you to focus and develop that particular word in your life. After a bit of soul-searching, I chose “trust” for my word. “I trust in God at all times. I pour out my heart before Him; God is a refuge for me” (Psalm 62:8).


Sometimes life’s road takes an unexpected bumpy detour and we’re unable to clearly see what’s ahead. Sometimes we can’t see around the blind corner so we have to slow down and proceed patiently. Going through challenges and troubles is when believers either achieve spiritual growth or commit spiritual suicide. The choice to trust or not trust is completely up to your own heart. “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise” (Hebrews 10:23 NLT).


As long as we don’t throw in the towel, totally trusting God will eventually banish fear and anxiety. “See, God has come to save me. I will trust in Him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; He has given me victory” (Isaiah 12:2 NLT). If we’re afraid, perhaps we’re reserving some of our trust to someone or something else. “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock” (Isaiah 26:3,4 NLT). If I’m experiencing anxiety instead of peace, I need to figure out what’s wrong with my trust and my thoughts and then make the obligatory changes. Since it’s “my bad,”  I must line up with His Word so I can receive the perfect peace He‘s promised.


The Key:  Fully trust God to always know how to take care of everyone and everything.

Housing Trends by Gregg Motley

Gregg Motley. President of the Regional Economic Development, Inc. Submitted photo.


I have written in previous columns that the population of every Southeast Kansas County declined between the 2010 and 2020 census; it was the first decade that Crawford County joined their regional neighbors to make bad news unanimous.  Along with the population drop has come a steep decline in the number of housing units in Bourbon County from the peak in 1980; this is a real problem.  It just makes sense that we cannot attract new businesses, or even significant business expansions by our existing employers, if we do not have quality, affordable housing in which to welcome new workers.


How bad is the problem?  It appears that the 1970’s was the golden decade for housing in Bourbon County, as the 1980 population stood at 15,969 residents living in an all-time high of 7,194 housing units. By the 2020 census, the count was 14,360 people which is a 10.1% drop. Housing dropped as well, falling to 6,770 units, a loss of 424.  Most of that drop occurred between 2010 and 2020.  Demolition crews must have been busy during the decade.


Other Southeast Kansas counties have experienced a similar stress in their housing markets; the exception is Crawford County, who continues to add to their housing inventory in every decade since 1990.  Linn County experienced robust growth in the number of houses in the county every decade until peaking at 5,446 in 2010, when their population was 9,656.  In the next 10 years, they lost only 65 people, but nearly 400 houses.


The most telling statistics for Bourbon County is the lack of housing starts in recent years and current rental vacancy data.  In the four years beginning in 2017, Bourbon County issued 11 building permits for a total value of $1.16 million.  Over the same period, Allen County, with a total 2020 population of 1,834 less than Bourbon County, issued 49 building permits totaling $7.12 million; not an insignificant difference.  To continue the comparison, both Allen County and Bourbon County have about 29% of their housing units dedicated to rental.  Over the last five years, our vacancy rate has averaged 15.1%; Allen County is at 12.5%.  Given the high demand for quality rental properties, we must have many unrentable units that need attention.  We need to explore the cause of high rental vacancy while rental demand appears to be high.


The Southeast Kansas model county in the area of housing is Linn County.  In the four year period previously discussed, the county issued 205 building permits with a value of $23.04 million.  Their rental vacancy is almost half of ours at 8.5%.  Clearly they are doing something right.  My instinct tells me they are leveraging their water amenities effectively.


We need to swallow our pride and take a closer look at why Southeast Kansas counties, including Allen, Anderson, Cherokee, Crawford, Linn, Neosho and even tiny Woodson County can attract new housing and we can’t seem to get the job done.  We also need to understand why we have the highest vacancy rate of rental houses in the region.  Then we need to work together to solve the problems.


Bourbon County Coalition Minutes of August 3

“The Bourbon County narcotics investigators presented an outstanding presentation,” Bourbon County Coalition Chairwoman Billie Jo Drake said . “It is amazing what a positive impact they have had on our county.”

“If you wish to present a program or know of a good program that would be beneficial for our group, please let me know,” she said.

Bourbon County Inter-Agency Coalition

General Membership Meeting Minutes


August 3, 2022



  1. Welcome:  Thirteen members representing twelve agencies and seven visitors attended the meeting.  Billie Jo informed the members that the Board had provided thirty family passes to the Fort Scott Aquatic Center which allowed eighty children to use the facility for the summer.  With the generosity of the City of Fort Scott, the passes cost the Board only $2,065.00.  She also mentioned that the process of changing the signatories on the bank account was taking longer than anticipated but should be finalized in the near future.


  1. Member Introductions and Announcements:
  • April Jackson, SEK Substance Misuse Prevention Coalition, shared pamphlets outlining the Coalition’s work; she also shared that they have been able to hire a second full-time employee who serves as the peer support navigator.
  • Elizabeth Schafer, CASA and Kiwanis, mentioned that CASA does not have nearly enough volunteers for the number of children in need.
  • Lisa Robertson, COPE, is working under a two-year grant to help create equity for everyone. She invited members to attend a planning meeting for the Local Health Equity committee to be held August 4 at 6:00 p.m.
  • Christine Abbott, SEKWorks, announced that the Fort Scott office will now be open five days a week; she also noted there are over 70,000 available Kansas jobs listed on the website.
  • Mandy Woods, Healthy Families, provided information on the services they offer for expecting moms and parents of newborns and provided members with hand sanitizer.
  • DeeDee LeFever, Community Liaison, Greenbush, was welcomed as a new member.
  • Tammy AlCantor, Crawford County Health Department, shared information on the Baby & Me Tobacco Free program, pre-natal classes, and the teen pregnancy program. She also announced that three Bourbon County residents that had completed the Tobacco Free program continued to be tobacco free!
  • Nick Johnson, Fort Scott PreSchool Principal, was welcomed as a new member. Nick shared that they have so far enrolled 104 students for preschool this year.
  • Vicki Wright, SEK Mental Health, was welcomed as a new member. She will be working with the marketing and promotional efforts of the Mental Health organization.
  • Sandra Haggard, RSVP, sent word that she helped the Housing Tenant Association with a service project where today they handed coloring books and games to Crystal Walker of TFI to use during family visitation.



  1. Program: Undersheriff Ben Cole introduced officers Steven Davidson and Alvin Metcalf who provided information on their current assignment of narcotics investigations.  Officers Davidson and Metcalf are grant funded; the goal for their grant is to deflect all drugs from coming into Bourbon County.  They noted that most all narcotics in the United States come from Mexico; also, that Highway 69 is one of the top 15 drug routes in the United States and Highway 54 is in the top five.   They also shared how they get information, what has to happen before an investigation or search, and what happens after an arrest is made.


  1. Open Forum:  There were no further announcements or discussions.


  1. Adjournment:  Next General Membership meeting will be September 7, 2022, at 1:00 p.m.