Nell Dikeman, 85, who recently completed her 49th year as a reporter and columnist for the Tribune, was recognized with a certificate and key to the city presented by Mayor Jim Adams at the start of the commission's brief meeting at City Hall. City officials thanked Dikeman for the service she has provided to the community and her dedication to her job over the years.
"I don't feel like I'm contributing," Dikeman said upon receiving her award. "I feel like I'm helping people associate with memories."
Her "Memories Spring Eternal" column, one of the Tribune's most popular features, was born in 1997 and has continued ever since. The column is a look back at Tribune stories from 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago that appears each Tuesday through Friday on the Tribune's Editorial/Opinion page.
Her first day at the Tribune was Dec. 1, 1963. She was chosen by Watson Marble, the owner of the paper at the time, from 57 applicants.
Dikeman shared one of her favorite mottos with those in attendance at Tuesday's meeting.
"The greatest ability is dependability," she said.
After presenting Dikeman with the certificate and key, Adams and City Manager Dave Martin thanked her for her contributions.
"You don't know how appreciated you are, how much the community appreciates you," Adams said.
Former Fort Scott city commissioner and mayor Dick Hedges, a longtime friend of Dikeman's, was on hand with his wife at the meeting to help honor Dikeman. Other friends and coworkers were present for the recognition as well.
"We love you, Nell," Martin said.
Over the years, Dikeman has written human interest, lifestyles and society stories, taken photographs and written a column titled the Kitchen Kabinet in which she shared recipes, homemaker tips and other information. The column ran for 20 years.
In other business, commissioners:
* Approved a request to close the following streets on Saturday for the annual Christmas in the Park event: from Ninth to 10th Street on Osbun, from Eighth to 10th Street on Burke Street, Ninth Street from Horton to Burke, Park Avenue, and Eighth Street to Park Avenue on Heylman. The event runs from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Gunn Park.
* Approved an ordinance providing for the salaries of the appointive officers and employees of the city. Martin said he has made some administrative changes, including changing the starting pay for some positions because they were "kind of low," and the promotions of Economic Development Recruitment and Retention Manager Macy Cullison to director of economic development and Fort Scott Police Department Lt. Travis Shelton to the position of interim police chief.
* Approved a recommendation from Martin to issue $100 holiday bonuses to all full-time staff and $25 bonuses to all part-time staff, excluding himself and City Attorney Bob Farmer. Martin said the bonuses are budgeted and will total $8,900. The same bonuses have been given the last two years.
* Following a public hearing, in which no questions were presented, commissioners approved amendments to various funds in the city's 2012 budget, including the general fund, the Cell 911 fund, the Rate Stabilization Fund, and the Special Sewer District Fund. Director of Finance Jon Garrison said the amendments are needed to give the city authority to spend funds.
One of the amendments involves increasing the city's general fund by $466,500 and using increased revenue from the approved half-cent sales tax to make a debt payment on the aquatic center and Buck Run Community Center projects, Garrison said.
Martin said the Employee Christmas Dinner will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, at Buck Run Community Center.