Category Archives: Youth

FSHS Organization to Sponsor Job Fair

Photo by Kaleb Bailey.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives working to ensure America has a skilled workforce. The Fort Scott High School Chapter of SkillsUSA is hosting a job fair on Wednesday, April 25, 2023 from 8 a.m. to noon in the high school auxiliary gym.

The purpose is to acquaint students with career opportunities available in the region. Michelle Laubenstein is the advisor for the group and can be reached at [email protected] or call 620.223.0600.


The FSHS SkillsUSA club is one of 23 Fort Scott High School  student organizations, here is a list of the rest.

Governor: Kansas Welfare System Improves

First Report Shows Kansas Child Welfare System Making Significant Progress

McIntyre settlement agreement requires yearly reports from neutral party

TOPEKA – Kansas foster children have stable placements and are experiencing fewer moves while in care, according to the first report from the Neutral Third Party in the McIntyre class action lawsuit settlement.

“My administration inherited a broken child welfare system that had an unacceptable number of children in care, a lack of placement stability, and limited prevention services,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Under my Administration, we now have 1,300 fewer children in the system, and the Neutral Report shows we have made substantial progress in making sure kids are in stable placements and experience fewer moves. There’s more work to be done, but this report shows we are headed in the right direction.”

The McIntyre class action lawsuit was filed in 2018 under the Colyer Administration by Kansas Appleseed, Children’s Rights, and the National Center for Youth Law against the Governor, Kansas Department for Children and Families, Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The Governor was later dismissed from the case.

The parties agreed to a settlement in 2020. The settlement was structured to ensure Kansas would achieve substantial progress and compliance in key performance areas over a multi-year period. Performance areas include accountability, reporting and implementation, practice improvements and outcomes. The settlement recognizes that the outcomes and practice improvements will not all be accomplished in one year. Outcome goals were set for a three-to-four-year period.

Judith Meltzer, President of the Center for the Study of Social Policy serves as the Neutral Third Party responsible for assessing the State’s first year progress.   This first report covers calendar year 2021.

“Reforming a child welfare system is a complex and multi-year endeavor,” Meltzer said. “During this first year, Kansas has made considerable progress in addressing some fundamental problems and has started down a path that we anticipate will lead to further improvements in the years ahead and to sustainable and meaningful improvements for Kansas children and families.”

Kansas made significant progress in placement stability. The Neutral validated that Kansas achieved its first-year benchmarks for placement stability and placement moves. Children in care experienced a rate of 5.84 moves per 1,000 days – more than meeting the benchmark of seven moves per 1,000 days. The report also shows that 86% of Kansas kids were in stable placements during CY 21, surpassing the benchmark of 80%.

“The report affirms our commitment to Kansas children by continuing efforts to build an effective child welfare system,” DCF Secretary Laura Howard said. “Using tools like kinship placements, partnerships with community agencies to provide trauma-informed support to foster parents and prioritizing families over facilities, these have all had a positive impact on this issue.”

The state does have more work to do in both temporary overnight placements and night-to-night or short-term placements. Children who experience a failure to place often have complex developmental, medical, behavioral or safety needs.

DCF is working to build capacity through several new initiatives. The agency has created the Failure to Place Prevention Network with the goal of creating stand-by service beds and other ways for family foster home to serve one child at a time. DCF also is addressing gaps with the addition of Therapeutic Foster Homes that launched in 2022.

The report also shows Kansas achieved several accountability benchmarks mandated by the agreement. Those include:

  • Amending case management provider contracts to clarify responsibilities arising from the settlement
  • Creating an independent advisory group to inform planning and program improvement
  • Collecting and reporting data on Class Members placed in a jail, correctional or detention facility

State agencies also are making significant progress in mental health practice improvements and outcomes despite not reaching the CY 21 benchmarks.

  • DCF approved a contract with Beacon Health Options to create the Mobile Family Crisis Helpline which launched in Oct. of 2021.
  • Unvalidated period 2 data shows significant improvement in addressing mental and behavioral health needs with nearly 80% of Class Members having their needs met.

“Addressing mental and behavioral health needs is vital if we are to have a strong child and family well-being system,” Howard said. “We know there is more work to do to strengthen the timely and consistent access to mental health assessments and reviews.”

DCF and its partner agencies will continue to collaborate with the Center for the Study of Social Policy to ensure valid data and look forward to showing more progress in the Period 2 report in 2023.

Those interested in the full CY 21 report can access it via the Center for the Study of Social Policy website.

“Uniontown 4-H Members Win State”

Uniontown 4-H Club

September Report

by Marley Sutton

Weeks of preparation and hard work paid off for several Uniontown 4-H Club members on August 21st in Manhattan, Kansas. The Southwind 4-H Intermediate Meat Evaluation team was named the state winner at the awards ceremony held on the campus of Kansas State University. Although they competed underneath the umbrella of the Southwind 4-H district, all of the team members hailed from the Uniontown 4-H Club!

Leading the way was Hailey Shadden and Kendyl Bloesser as they tied for the High Individual honors at the contest. Shadden was named the High Individual after utilizing tie breakers. Also ranking in the top ten individually were Makinlee Bloesser (5th) and Marley Sutton (7th).

Uniontown 4-H also had several members participate in the Kansas State Fair this past week. Austin Maycumber competed in photography judging and his team ended up ranking 8th in the state. Marley and McKinley Sutton exhibited hogs at the event with their biggest success coming in the market hog show where McKinley’s barrow was named the Reserve Champion Berkshire Market Hog. Seth Shadden received a purple ribbon on his Small Engine Display and Hailey Shadden received a blue on her Forestry Notebook and a red ribbon on her food project. Kendyl and MaKinlee Bloesser both participated in foods and received red ribbons on their entries. Makiah Woods received a purple ribbon on her garment entry.

Grant Opps for Childcare/Senior Programs, Community Vibrancy, Food Retail, Libraries

Kansas Department of Commerce Announces New Grant Opportunity to Support Economic Development in Smaller Communities

TOPEKA – Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland announced a new grant opportunity today that will help support economic development and revitalization efforts in smaller communities across Kansas through investments in quality-of-life initiatives.

The brand-new Strategic Economic Expansion and Development (SEED) program will make grants between $5,000 and $50,000 available to communities in 78 designated counties with a population of 5,000 or less. Grants will be available in the following categories:

  • Childcare and senior programming – projects that support or enhance these services, such as building improvements, educational materials, supplies and equipment;
  • Community vibrancy – projects that refresh, re-energize and unlock the attractiveness of rural communities, such as art installations, murals and signage;
  • Food retail – projects that support access to food retail establishments, including development, renovation and/or expansion; and
  • Libraries – projects that support providing free and open access to a broad range of materials and services, including reading material, technology, furniture and building improvements.

“The Department of Commerce is very pleased to offer this new grant opportunity to our smallest communities across Kansas,” said Lt. Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland. “The SEED grants will offer communities a boost that will help them prosper and thrive. Quality-of-life investments help create vibrant communities that attract more people to live and work in Kansas.”

Local governments, economic development organizations, chambers of commerce, and other organizations are eligible to apply. Applicants must provide a minimum 10 percent match and complete the project within 12 months of receiving grant funds. Funds will be distributed half at the beginning of the grant cycle and the balance upon successful completion of the project.

Funding for the SEED program, which is administered by the Kansas Department of Commerce, is provided through the Technology Enabled Fiduciary Financial Institutions (TEFFI) Development and Expansion Fund. The TEFFI Act was enacted in 2021 through bipartisan legislation to promote economic development throughout the state.

Earlier this year, the Beneficient Company Group, L.P. received its full charter and became the first technology-enabled fiduciary financial institution in Kansas pursuant to the TEFFI Act. Beneficient’s first contribution to the grant program totaled $2.7 million.

SEED grant applications will open Monday, August 29, and close at 11:59 p.m. Friday, September 30. Grant awardees will be announced in October.

An informational webinar on the SEED grant will be available to the public at 10:00 a.m. (CST) Monday, August 29. Registration for the webinar, guidelines for the grant application, and a list of eligible counties can be found at

Applicants can contact [email protected] for any questions regarding this funding opportunity.

About the Kansas Department of Commerce:

As the state’s lead economic development agency, the Kansas Department of Commerce strives to empower individuals, businesses and communities to achieve prosperity in Kansas. Commerce accomplishes its mission by developing relationships with corporations, site location consultants and stakeholders in Kansas, the nation and world. Our strong partnerships allow us to help create an environment for existing Kansas businesses to grow and foster an innovative, competitive landscape for new businesses. Through Commerce’s project successes, Kansas was awarded Area Development Magazine’s prestigious Gold Shovel award in 2021 and 2022, and was awarded the 2021 Governor’s Cup by Site Selection Magazine.

Fremar Foundation: Supporting Outstanding Local Artists

Karen Fremar from the Fremar Foundation website.

A foundation that is located in Leawood, Kansas, has roots in and supports Bourbon County artists.

The Fremar Foundation was established in 2010 by Karen Fremar as a charitable organization and began giving scholarships in 2017.

Fremar’s parents were Fort Scott musicians who had a music studio starting in the 1950s through the 1970s. Fremar began her career as an accordian artist here.

Those students that have received Fremar scholarships, where they are studying and what their degree is:

2017Mayson Lane, Oberlin College Conservatory/UMKC,
Violin/Music/Health Science

2018 –  Brenna Bower, Pittsburg State University, Trumpet/Political

2019Jezeriah Simpson, Baker University,  Art/Computer

2020 – Levi Bin, Pittsburg State University,  Vocal Music/Theater/Automotive Technology


2020 Patrick Schmidt, Wichita State University,  Vocal Music/Music Education

2021 – Noah Martin, Ozark Christian College, Music and Worship

2022 – Laney Covey, Allen Community College,  Digital Media/Visual Illustration and Animation

To learn more about the foundation and the students they have awarded:

The mission of the foundation has evolved, said Fremar, chairwoman and president of the Fremar Foundation. “It is currently to recognize the achievements and enable talented high school students in the Fort Scott area to continue with their artistic studies at the college level.”

“Initially we wanted to bring outstanding accordion artists from all over the world to perform concerts in Kansas City,” she said. But the cost was to high.

So her thinking changed.

“I was thinking that I would rather spend time and raise funds to support and recognize local young artists in all disciplines to help them on their artistic journey,” Fremar said. ” While we champion outstanding accordion art, we are not exclusive and support all musicians and artists.”

Tax advisor, Carol Hill, and financial advisor, Jordan Witt, both of Fort Scott, helped the organization develop a program to present scholarships in the area.

“Jordan was president of the school board at that time, and said that there was really nothing to recognize and financially reward the efforts of these talented young people in the area,” she said.

The critical part of the scholarship program is to recognize the achievements of these young artists in their creative work in high school,  and encourage them to continue their art as they go into college and into life, she said.

“We find it thrilling to follow their careers, see their successes, and know that maybe we had some small part in recognizing and encouraging their talent and achievements,” she said.

“An added benefit is that Mayson Lane has now become a full-fledged member of Vivant! (the group of K.C. area musicians she performs with) and performs with us whenever possible.”

Annual Concert

Each year she spearheads a concert to provide more funds for the scholarships the foundation awards.

She is inviting people from Bourbon County to the concert at the Leawood United Methodist Church (near Ranchmart) at 3 p.m. on Sunday, August 28. The free concert will last about one hour and refreshments will follow. It’s at this time the audience can meet the scholarship recipients.

“The concert will be varied and fun… plus, we’ll feature some amazing musicians,” she said. “We would be grateful for donations to our scholarship program.”

“I arranged all the scores we perform together,” she said. “The musicians in Vivant! are top professionals in their field.”

This year’s recipient Laney Covey, Uniontown, will be featured, she said.

“Laney will… provide an art show in the lobby of her works,” she said. “Jezeriah Simpson… at Baker University, now in his fourth year of receiving our scholarships, will be there and be introduced.”

Fred and Margie Fremar, Karen’s parents who started a music studio in Fort Scott.

Photos on the foundation website show many recognizable names and faces.

Continue reading Fremar Foundation: Supporting Outstanding Local Artists

VBS: Uniontown Baptist Church July 18-22

This is part of a series featuring local VBS’s in the county. Please send information and a photo to help tell the story of your event.

Uniontown Baptist Church is located on Hwy. 3 on the town’s west side.

The First Missionary Uniontown Baptist Church invites community children to their Vacation Bible School from Monday July 19 to Friday July 22 with the closing program on Sunday July 24 at the 10 a.m. church service.

It is presented from 9 to 11:30 a.m. for ages 4 through fifth grade at the church. The church is located at the intersection of Hwy. 3 and Maple Road (Fifth Street in Uniontown.)

The Armor of God is the theme this year.

There will be Bible stories, fun games, yummy snacks and great songs.

A drawing for five Silver Dollar City Tickets will happen at the closing program.

For more information or to register, call Elaine Ledford at 620-756-4924, text at 620-215-6963 or email [email protected]


Rock Ballet Recital: See Area Dancers Strut their Stuff

Kristin Gorman. Submitted photo.

Kristin Lewis Gorman is the owner and director of Rock Ballet, a Fort Scott dance instruction studio.

Her dance instruction recital is at 7:30 p.m. on June 24 and 25 at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, on the campus of Pittsburg State University.

From the Rockballet recital in 2021. Submitted photos.

Gorman said the dancers are all getting very excited right about now.

She is as well, but last years recital is giving her confidence that this one too, will be a great performance for the dancers.

“Having one recital under my belt, I’m feeling a tiny bit less frantic at this point,” she said.

“Our dress rehearsal is Wednesday, June 22 and the shows will be Friday and Saturday, June 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m.” she said.


At the Rockballet debut recital,June 2021, at the Bicknell Center.


Rockballet Dancers. Submitted photo.

“I would love to get our online- reserved seating- ticket link out there to everyone in Fort Scott because last year so many people told me after the fact that they hated that they didn’t even know about the show,” she said. “My fault totally, I just ran out of time.”

“It is super easy to purchase tickets using the link,  as it is all done online through Tutu Tix,” she said.

Click below to purchase tickets for the event:

Backstage at the 2021 recital. Submitted photos.

Her email is [email protected] and the website is

Her mission: “Building confident, graceful, dynamic dance-athletes from the ground up”

Click Here To Register For Dance Classes

Rockballet Dancers, the Broadway Babies,  on stage in 2021. Submitted photos.

DCCCA Youth Leadership Workshops

DCCCA is offering Kansas high school students an opportunity to expand their leadership skills at FREE regional workshops coming this September. Reserve your space at one of our five regional workshops.   Students must be accompanied by at least one school representative sponsor. Sessions are scheduled from 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. and lunch will be provided.

Agenda and more information coming soon!


Prevention is better together

and together we are stronger!


Dena Kemp, MSW, CPP

Southeast Kansas Community Support Specialist

Community Based Services Division

104 ½ W 9th Street, Suite 424

Winfield, KS 67156

620.670.2814 (Office)

620.218.2878 (Cell)

Shead Farm Homestead Festival on May 21: A Learning Experience

Since Larry and Vickie Shead’s retirement as educators a few years back they have been showcasing their farm to the public.

They started an event last year for visitors to explore and gather ideas from the Shead’s sustainable lifestyle farm.

“We feel we are just caretakers (of the farm),” Vickie Shead said. “This is what God has given us to do.”

“The Shead Farm Homestead Festival is great for all ages with the farm’s 50 point tour, children’s educational game center, music, and food court, all setting the stage for new innovative ideas and educational information about gardening and farming that produce quality food,” she said.

On May 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. they are opening their farm to the public for the second annual Shead Farm Homestead Festival, located at 2468 Cavalry Rd, Garland, KS, southeast of Fort Scott.

In addition to a farm tour of their gardens, orchard, greenhouse, animals and bee keeping activities there will be a food court serving products made at the farm: walking tacos for $5 and supercharged cookies for $2.

The inside view of the Shead hoop house.

Vendors will be selling seedlings, soap, honey and more.

The farm will be filled with sounds of live music by many local musicians, David Pritchett, Ralph Carlson, Mim Carlson and Carolyn Tucker. Also, a local group called the Prairie Sunflower Strings will perform as well: Marilyn Adcock, Charlena Burns, Jack and Sandy Hemphill, Joyce Love, Cherry Nelson, Jean Strader, Stephen Moses. There will also be an open jam session. Sound is provided by Dave Oas.

Children will have lots to choose from for activities: an animal arena, story station, photo place, cow milking, butter making, and more.

Some of the Shead poultry

Admission for the day is $5 per person or $20 for a family of four and more.

Their children and their spouses will be helping the day of the festival excluding Michael and Chrisi Shead and family, who are missionaries to Guatemala. Those who will be helping May 21 are:  Mark and Haley Shead, Mitzi and Joel Ray, and Maria and Clayton Whitson, along with most of their 21 grandchildren.  Many other volunteers are helping to make this a great family outing.

The Shead Family. 2021. Submitted photo.


For more information:

Vickie Shead
Phone: (620) 224-4149
Email: [email protected]

History of the Shead’s Sustainable Homestead

In 1978, Larry and Vickie Shead moved to their family’s 1892 homestead with a goal of having a healthy, sustainable, organic farm.

They began to produce fruits, vegetables, herbs and animals, and also to teach and train the family the value of hard work as a fun activity and entertainment.

Before “agritourism” was a word, the Sheads found themselves welcoming guests who wanted to experience farm life. These included: school field trips, church camps, reunions, weddings, and large Thanksgiving gatherings.

Over the decades, five colleges used the farm for weekend retreats where students could experience the life of work and fun in the outdoors. Over 3000 students representing 50 states and 54 different countries have come to enjoy the farm.

In 2017, Vickie’s dream of a  high tunnel (greenhouse) became a reality through a Natural Resource Conservation Service grant, through the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

“The high tunnel not only extends the growing season but helps protect against insects and chemical contaminants that might drift from neighboring farms,” she said.

In 2021, the Shead Farm was registered as an Agritourism Farm with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism



Over 44 years, Vickie has planted, grown, harvested, and preserved all her organic produce surplus which was dehydrated and ground into extremely fine powder and added to cookies, eggs, smoothies, peanut butter sandwiches, meats, soups, casseroles,
puddings, salads, etc.

It is called VEGGIE POWDER.

The powder provides extra nutrients for families constantly on the go, parents of difficult eaters, or those wanting a more healthy natural diet, she said.

The concentrated organic Veggie Powder from the Shead Farm has an interested beginning.

“Having 250 kindergartners come to the farm
for a fun, farm field trip was an eye opener,” Vickie said. “The school provided healthy sack lunches. However, when the trash was emptied, almost all of the carrots and most of the apples were in the trash along with half-eaten peanut butter sandwiches. The
cookies were ALL EATEN. Children, as well as adults, often choose to eat what they want to eat, pushing the healthy vegetables to the side. Vegetables are sadly missing in so many diets.”

VEGGIE POWDER is made without fillers. In each bottle, she uses available vegetables: kale, cucumbers, zucchini, chard, sweet potatoes, sweet potato leaves, summer squash, carrots, carrot tops, butternut squash, okra, spinach, beets, beet greens,  eggplant, Malabar spinach, and Moringa.

Veggie Powder will be available for sale on the day of the festival and additionally, the powder is sold on Etsy for $5 per oz.

 After ordering, each customer receives a thank you card with a recipe on the back, usually made by Vickie and Larry’s grandchildren.

Customers can visit their Facebook page for inspiration on how to incorporate the powder into their meals.

Public Library Has Urgent Need for Volunteers/Donors For Summer

Fort Scott Public Library
Submitted by Valetta Cannon, Fort Scott Public Library Youth Librarian & Assistant Director
Fort Scott Public Library is in urgent need of volunteers and donors to help make the family and teen kickoff parties possible. 
The Family Kickoff Party – Splash Into Summer – will take place on June 1 at 10 am at Gunn Park Shelter House #3. The library needs about 15-20 more volunteers to help run stations (including a snack table, prize table, crafts, games, and toddler play area) and to supervise the party so that kids can stay safe around roads and the nearby lake. No party food has yet been pledged and much is needed. See this list for more information: Snack Foods Donation List and fill out this form to volunteer: Volunteer & Donor Form for Summer Reading 2022
The library also needs 5 volunteers to help supervise the middle & high school kickoff party, which will take place at 4 pm on June 1 at Marmaton Riverfront Belltown Walking Trail. Food for the party is also still needed. 
All volunteers who are capable of helping and are safe to work with children are encouraged to sign up, including teens, older children, and retired seniors. Miss Val will provide a letter of recognition for any volunteer work upon request, and will sign community service hours fulfillment forms for hours worked. Make a difference in your community by helping children learn through library programs! Email questions to Miss Val at [email protected]