Settling For Crumbs by Patty LaRoche

The disciples were annoyed.  A Canaanite woman was crying out, begging Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter.  Jesus said nothing, so his disciples told him to send her away; she was getting on their nerves.  Read the story in Matthew 15:21-28.

Perhaps had she been from the right side of the tracks, things would have been different.

Instead of the compassionate Jesus siding with her, he said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”  Not to her kind.  For she was not Jewish.  I picture the disciples smirking as Jesus let her know that she was not one of them.

The woman would not be turned away.  Verse 25 says that she knelt before him.  “Lord, help me!” she said. Surely now he would be moved.  Instead, he replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”  Oh my gosh!  Jesus called this desperate woman a dog.  Surely there’s a misprint.  The mother did not care how she was branded.  She knew that Jesus was the only one who could heal her child.  Her answer shows her humility.

 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”  That’s all it took.  She knew Jesus as Lord.  As Master.  It was then he showed the side he needed all to see.  “Woman,” he answered, “You have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

At. That. Moment.

So what’s going on here?  For one, Canaanites were hated by the Jews.  Hundreds of years before, the nations warred against each other, and even though the Prince of Peace (Jesus) was now walking with the Jews, they wanted no part of their enemy.  (Sounds a little like politics in the United States, don’t you think?)

Jesus’ followers had to be shocked. Had he lost his mind?  No doubt, they loved it when he spoke condescendingly to the despairing mother. But when this woman, this “enemy,” honored the master, the tone changed.  Surely they were confused.

Matthew writes this narrative to remind us that we all are equal, no matter our history, our ethnicity or our prejudices, and there’s a good chance some of us outspoken “Christians” might know about spirituality a lot less than others who don’t speak about their faith.  As I write this, I am caught in the middle of a conflict between a “Christian” couple and a couple who profess no faith.  I am siding with the latter.

My prayer warrior friends here in Mexico are doing likewise, as we have watched the church-going couple defame the integrity of our giving, generous, dedicated friends who have spent the last ten years serving the less fortunate.  I have been asked to speak to the head of the organization who has bought into the lies of the one couple, but since my Spanish is limited (poor), I asked a precious Christian, bilingual friend to accompany me.  She answered in length about her attempt to open the eyes of the one in charge, to no avail.  According to her, others have done likewise.  I will be no different.

The difficulty of this is for me not to judge the Christian couple without even offering them the crumbs of my faith by praying for them.  Sometimes it’s easier just to judge…in which case, I am no different from the ones I’m criticizing.











Test Your Home for Radon This Winter

Clara Wikoff. Submitted photo.

By Clara Wicoff

Southwind Extension District


Have you had your home tested for radon? According to Wichita State University, asking just this one question can reduce your whole family’s risk of cancer. The Kansas Radon Program reports that residential radon gas exposure is the top cause of lung cancer death for non-smokers. Radon is sometimes referred to as the “silent killer” because you can’t see it, smell it, or taste it.


One in four Kansas homes tests high for radon. The only way to know the radon level in your home is to test for it. According to the Kansas Radon Program, winter is an excellent time to test your home. You can obtain a radon test kit from any K-State Research and Extension office, including our Southwind District offices in Iola, Fort Scott, Erie, and Yates Center.


If you want to learn even more about radon, join us for an educational program on February 16th at 12 PM in our Iola office! The professionals from the Kansas Radon Program will be presenting on the dangers of radon exposure and how to test your home. This program is free, but registration is required at A light meal will be provided.


For more information, please contact me at [email protected] or 620-365-2242. You can also learn more from the Kansas Radon Program at kansasradonprogr

Caution on Eating Local Caught Kansas Fish

Kansas Issues Fish Consumption Advisories for 2023

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) are issuing fish consumption advisories for 2023. The advisories identify types of fish or other aquatic animals that should be eaten in limited quantities or, in some cases, avoided altogether because of contamination. General advice and internet resources are provided to aid the public in making informed decisions regarding the benefits and the risks associated with eating locally caught fish from Kansas waters.


Bottom-feeding fish: buffaloes, carps, catfishes, sturgeons and suckers.

Shellfish: mussels, clams and crayfish.

Serving size (skinless fish fillets before cooking):

  • Adults and children age 13 and older = 8 ounces
  • Children age 6 to 12 = 4 ounces
  • Children younger than 6 = 2 ounces

Statewide Mercury Advisories for Fish:

Getting outside to catch fish and eating fish has many health benefits, but all fish contain some amount of mercury. Anyone who routinely eats fish or serves fish to their children should carefully consider the types and amounts they eat, including store-bought fish. Too much dietary mercury can harm the development of fetuses, nursing babies and growing children. Therefore, mercury-sensitive individuals (women who are pregnant, nursing, or may become pregnant, and children younger than 17 years old) should follow the guidelines presented below for eating fish caught in Kansas.

Fishing and Eating Guidelines:

  • Eat smaller portions – a fillet about the size of your palm.
  • Eat types of fish with less mercury (Preferred Choice Fish in the chart below).
  • If you don’t know the type or size of fish you are eating, wait at least a week before eating fish again.
  • When fishing, keep fish shorter than your forearm (fingertips to elbow) or less than 20 inches as regulations allow.


Preferred Choice Fish Servings
Blue and Channel Catfish

Common Carp


White Bass, White Perch, Wiper, Striped Bass

Walleye, Sauger, Saugeye

Bullhead Catfish


Sunfish (Bluegill, Green, Redear, etc.)

1 or 2

per week


Second Choice Fish Servings
Buffaloes (Black, Bigmouth, Smallmouth)

Flathead Catfish

Bass (Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Spotted)

1 or 2

per month

Reduce the recommendations above if you tend to keep fish larger than about 20 inches to:

  • Preferred Choice Fish – not more than 1 serving per week
  • Second Choice Fish – not more than 1 serving per month

For specific questions or concerns about mercury in Kansas fish, please contact KDHE. For information about mercury in fish caught in other states, in store bought fish, and in other types seafood please visit the U.S. EPA and U.S. FDA websites.

Waterbody specific advisories for all consumers:

Kansas recommends restricting consumption of bottom-feeding fish and catfishes to 1 serving per week from the following locations because of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs):

  • Cow Creek in Hutchinson and downstream to the confluence with the Arkansas River (Reno County).
  • Kansas River from Lawrence (below Bowersock Dam) downstream to Eudora at the confluence of the Wakarusa River (Douglas and Leavenworth counties).
  • Little Arkansas River from the Main Street Bridge immediately west of Valley Center to the confluence with the Arkansas River in Wichita (Sedgwick County).

Kansas recommends restricting consumption of bottom-feeding fish and catfishes to 1 serving per month from the following location because of PCBs:

  • K-96 Lake in Wichita (Sedgwick County).

Kansas recommends not eating specified fish or aquatic life from the following locations:

  • Arkansas River from the Lincoln Street dam in Wichita downstream to the confluence with Cowskin Creek near Belle Plaine (Sedgwick and Sumner counties); bottom-feeding fish and catfishes due to PCBs.
  • Shoal Creek from the Missouri/Kansas border to Empire Lake (Cherokee County); shellfish due to lead and cadmium.
  • Spring River from the confluence of Center Creek to the Kansas/Oklahoma border (Cherokee County); shellfish due to lead and cadmium.
  • Antioch Park Lake South in Antioch Park, Overland Park (Johnson County); all fish due to pesticides dieldrin, heptachlor epoxide, chlordane and dichlorophenyltrichloroethanes (DDTs).
  • Arkalon Park Lakes in Liberal (Seward County) – Kansas recommends not eating any aquatic life because the lakes are sustained solely by treated municipal wastewater.

Waterbodies affected by Harmful Algae Blooms

To date, measured algal toxin levels in fish samples collected from waters affected by harmful algal blooms (HABs) suggest the fish are safe to eat.  However, please take the following precautions:

  • Avoid skin contact with water.
  • Wear gloves when handling wet fish and equipment.
  • Rinse fish with clean water.
  • Remove skin from fillets and rinse with clean water prior to cooking or freezing.
  • Eat only skinless fillets.
  • Do not eat shellfish.

General advice for reducing exposure to chemicals in fish

  • Keep smaller fish to eat and let the big ones go.
  • Avoid eating fish parts other than fillets.
  • Trim fat from fillets and/or use cooking methods that allows fat to drip away.
  • Avoid subsistence fishing (relying on wild-caught fish for daily nutritional needs) in rivers within or immediately downstream of large urban/industrial areas.
  • Do not eat fish or aquatic life from wastewater outfalls, waste treatment lagoons or stormwater retention ponds.

Other information from KDHE, KDWPT, EPA, and the American Heart Association

To view the advisories online and for information about KDHE’s Fish Tissue Contaminant Monitoring Program please visit the website at

For information about fishing in Kansas including licensing, regulations, fishing reports and fishing forecasts please visit the KDWPT fishing website

For information about the health benefits vs. the risks of including fish in your diet please visit this American Heart Association website

For technical information regarding the U.S. EPA risk assessment methods used to determine advisory consumption limits please visit


2023 Kansas Health Champions Announced


TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Governor’s Council on Fitness (GCOF) presented the 2023 Kansas Health Champion Awards during the Community Health Promotion Summit today, Thursday, January 26.

The Health Champion Award was developed by the Governor’s Council on Fitness to recognize and promote exemplary contributions to fitness in Kansas. Those recognized include an individual and organization, as well as honorable mentions in each category.

  • Individual Health Champion: Douglas Neal, Topeka.
  • Organizational Health Champion: Stay Strong Live Well Wilson County.
  • Individual Honorable Mention: Renaire Palmer, Wichita.
  • Organizational Honorable Mention: STAND, a vision of Mirror Inc.

“Congratulations to this year’s Health Champions.” Secretary Janet Stanek, KDHE, said. “We appreciate your dedication to improving the health and livelihoods of the people of Kansas.”

Health Champions

Douglas Neal of Topeka is the Palliative Care Program manager at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and facilitates activities of the Palliative Care and Quality of Life and Interdisciplinary Advisory Council. Douglas served 27 years in the United States Army as a Senior Division Noncommissioned Officer and during that time he earned the title of Master Fitness Trainer. He also currently works as a Level III (the highest level) trainer at Genesis Health Clubs where he works with clients from all age ranges. Douglas has shown strong dedication to improving the lives of the people around him by modeling good health and fitness in a sustainable way.

Dr. Latania Marr y Ortega, who nominated Douglas, said, “Mr. Neal’s scope of influence has been far-reaching. During his career as a Noncommissioned Officer in the US Army, his current position as a Palliative Care Manager for KDHE, and as a fitness trainer, his message of achieving a fit and healthy lifestyle to avoid chronic disease continues to influence communities of all ages and ethnicities. Mr. Neal is committed to improving the life of Kansans and is truly a health champion.”

Dr. Be Stoney, who also nominated Douglas, said” Mr. Neal’s military and professional careers have led him to where he is today. Now a Palliative Care Manager for KHDE, he is the epitome of what it takes to not only educate yourself in assisting others in healthy lifestyles, but he models what it takes to be healthy, exercise, make healthy eating choices, and be determined to understand the importance of modeling.”

Stay Strong Live Well Wilson County is a community coalition that focuses on improving the health of Wilson County residents. They work with local restaurants to increase the availability of healthy food, work to build and create access to trails and parks, and work with the Fredonia Regional Hospital to implement a resource referral network that connects patients with community organizations that can address various needs.

Carlie Houchen, who nominated Stay Strong Live Well Wilson County, said, “Their work will have a lasting impact on the health and fitness of Kansas because they are making systemic and environmental changes. They are truly changing the context for members of their community. People will have free access to trails and parks that did not exist before. This removes significant barriers to active living and healthy eating to set people up to be healthy and happy.”

Honorable Mentions

Renaire Palmer of Wichita is a nutrition and wellness coach, certified fitness trainer and owner of Fundamental Fitness, a gym and physical fitness center. Renaire also developed Fun Fit Life

Foundation, a nonprofit fitness and nutrition program for underserved students. He has also volunteered his time to support a nonprofit organization that combines literacy and fitness titled Hoops 4 Literacy. Renaire has committed the last 12 years of his personal life and career to improve the health and wellness of the Wichita community.

Prisca Barnes, who nominated Renaire, said, “Improving the health and well-being of a community is no simple task. That is why Renaire’s commitment to reaching the younger generation is so important. His work in schools, community centers, parks and more empowers underserved youth and their families by providing them with tools to live happier and healthier lives.”

STAND, a vision of Mirror Inc. is a student-led group that focuses on peer-to-peer advocacy and education regarding substance misuse and encouraging healthy lifestyle choices. The STAND initiative is in its fifth year, and they aim to improve mental and physical health in their communities. They hold activities throughout the year that encourage students to be physically active while also building relationships. STAND has appeared before school boards, city councils, and presented at local town halls to advocate for community change and have been successful in getting their communities to pass ordinances that raise the age to purchase tobacco and prohibit tobacco use in city parks.

Danna Gordon, who nominated STAND, said, “Members are creating social change and have impacted thousands through their positive leadership, prevention education, and student-designed projects that meet community needs. STAND is essential to the culture of our school and community.”



Call For Entries-Bourbon County Arts Council Fine Art Exhibit-2023


The Bourbon County Arts Council announces its 31st Annual Fine Arts Competition and Exhibit, to be held at the Danny and Willa Ellis Family Fine Arts Center on the campus of Fort Scott Community College, Thursday, March 2nd, through Saturday, March 11th.

The mixed media competition is open to artists of age 16 and older.  Categories include Ceramics, Drawing and Graphics (Pencil, Pen, Ink), Fiber Art, Glasswork, Jewelry, Mixed Media, Painting (Oil & Acrylic), Pastel, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, and Watercolor.

A new themed category has been included; the theme this year is “DOORWAYS & WINDOWS”.  An artist may create a piece in any of the above media categories, as it relates to the theme.

Entry fees are $7.50 per piece for Bourbon County Arts Council members and $10.00 per piece for non-members.  Artists may enter up to five pieces, but only three in any one category.  Entry deadline and payment are due by February 24th, 2023.

Cash awards totaling greater than $3500.00 will be made, for Best of Show in 2D and 3D, First and Second Place winners in each category, and a Popular Vote winner.

Entry forms may be requested by calling Deb Anderson at 620-224-8650, Deb Halsey at (620)224-0684, or e-mailing [email protected].

PLEASE NOTE: We are no longer accepting pieces shipped to BCAC for entry into the exhibit.

The schedule for this year’s Exhibit is as follows:  Entry forms and payment, as stated above, are due by February 24th. No late entries will be accepted.

Artwork will be accepted at the Ellis Fine Arts Center on February 26th, between 1 and 4 pm.

 Juror critique of the artwork will occur on March 1st;  this is closed to artists and the public.

The BCAC will host a Chamber Coffee Thursday March 2nd at 8:00 am at the Ellis Center.

A reception, open to the public, will be held for participating artists and the Juror on  Thursday evening from 6:00 to 8:00pm.

The Exhibit will be open for public viewing on Thursday, March 2nd through Friday March 10th, from 12:00 pm until 7:00 pm, and on Saturday, March 11th, from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm.

The Danny and Willa Ellis Family Fine Arts Center is located at 2108 Horton St., Fort Scott, Kansas.




Kansas Family Advisory Network SE Receives Grant

Governor Kelly Announces Nearly $1.8 Million in Funding for 10 Family Resource Centers

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced that 10 Kansas communities are receiving grants to assist with the creation of Family Resource Centers. These funds, granted by the Kansas Department for Children and Families, are part of its ongoing efforts to decrease the need for families to have formal contact with the agency.

“The centers receiving these grants serve as community hubs with the sole purpose of supporting families in their own neighborhoods,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Providing easier access to programs and services, including job skills training, early childhood programs, and nutritional services, sets Kansas families up for success.”

DCF awarded grants to:

Counties Served
Award Amount
Community Children’s Center
Douglas County
Kansas Family Advisory Network SE
Allen, Bourbon, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Crawford, Labette, Linn, Montgomery, Neosho, Osage, and Wilson Counties
Kansas Family Advisory Network SW
Barton, Comanche, Edwards, Finney, Ford, Gray, Greeley, Harvey, Lyon, Marion, McPherson, Meade, Pawnee, Reno, Rice, Seward, and Stafford Counties
Kansas Children’s Service League
Sedgwick County
KU Project Eagle
Wyandotte County
Live Well NWKS
Cheyenne, Rawlins, Decatur, Norton, Sherman, Thomas, Sheridan, Graham, Wallace, Logan, Gove, and Trego Counties
Pony Express
Marshall and Washington Counties
Turner USD 202
Wyandotte County; USD 202
Urban League of Kansas
67214 zip code in Sedgwick County
USD 252 Lyon Co.
Lyon County communities of Neosho Rapids, Harford and Olpe

Total awarded: $1,762,212 

 “We know that if we can help build the skills necessary for families to succeed, we can prevent the need for families to have contact with DCF, especially the child welfare system,” Secretary Laura Howard said. “These centers will focus on parent resilience, social connections and important parent and child development skills which we believe will result in fewer youth in the foster care system.”

Family Resource Centers are designed for all families with services at no or low cost for participants. Examples of services and supports offered at a resource center include:

  • Childcare resource and referral
  • Counseling
  • Early childhood programs
  • Food bank, cooking, and nutrition programs
  • Health screenings
  • Home visiting program
  • Job skills training
  • Legal services
  • Literacy programs
  • Parent leadership and peer groups
  • Play groups
  • Youth leadership and peer groups

DCF partners with the Kansas Children’s Service League (KCSL) to administer the Family Resource Center network. KCSL will work with the communities to design and create their center. As the lead operator of the Parent Helpline 1-800-Children, KCSL offers important insights on parenting and caregiver resources that will help ensure the success of each Family Resource Centers.

Grants run through June 30, 2024, with three one-year options to renew.


Fort Scott News