Surprise grant goes to GNAT

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Fort Scott agency that helps qualified residents improve their homes got a surprise boost Thursday morning from the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation in the form of a $500 grant.

The Good Neighbor Action Team will use the funds to further its goal of helping eligible low-income, disabled and elderly residents make repairs or improvements to their homes that they would otherwise not be able to afford.

"We are excited to present the group with money from our granting fund. From time to time, the board of directors can see a need arise within the community that is not within our regular granting cycle guidelines. The Good Neighbor Action Team works to better our community, and we wanted to help," FSACF Chairwoman Janet Braun said in a news release.

GNAT Co-convenor Treva Williams was pleased by the support, announced at a Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce Coffee, held at Mercy Physician Group.

"This was a pleasant surprise to our committee that they were able to find some funds for our projects," Williams said.

The Good Neighbor Blitz this year will run from June 9-14, and so far, 18 applications have been received. Williams said GNAT's long-term objective is to work on homes throughout the year. The organization gets all its funds for supplies and materials from community donations and fundraisers, so the group needs churches, service organizations and neighborhoods to step up and pitch in.

By the end of next week, Williams said GNAT hopes to have volunteer applications available online at the city and chamber of commerce websites.

Applications can be mailed to Williams at First Presbyterian Church, 308 S. Crawford, Fort Scott, Kan., 66701. Volunteer registration forms are also available.

People wishing to back the Blitz -- financially -- may send a check made out to the City of Fort Scott, with Good Neighbor Blitz noted in the memo line, to 617 Tiffany Lane, Fort Scott, Kan., 66701. Volunteer applications can be mailed to 913 216th Terrace, Fort Scott, Kan., 66701.

FSACF was founded in 2007 by a group of citizens interested in encouraging philanthropy and strengthening communities.

As a local center for philanthropy, the foundation works with individuals, families, corporations, private foundations and not-for-profit organizations to carry out their charitable objectives and address emerging community issues, the release said.

The FSACF is an affiliate of both the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas and the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.

The chamber coffees also give community members a chance to make announcements about things going on in town. Among them:

*City Manager Dave Martin praised the police department for cracking a 13-year-old cold case earlier this week. Larry Joe Gier Jr., 40, 406 N. Pine, Redfield, Kan., was arrested on May 9 at 3:22 p.m. by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation on a Bourbon County warrant for second-degree murder in connection with the 1998 death of 48-year-old Gregory O. Hines. A body has not yet been found.

Martin said he has been getting calls from all over the country about this case. "Hopefully, we'll come to some closure in this case ...," Martin said.

On a separate item, Martin also lauded the fire department for its work in putting out a fire at 524 S. Osbun last week.

This was the first major blaze he had been on the scene of. He said four firemen went into the house and cut a hole to get up to where they could extinguish the fire. Fire Chief Paul Ballou has said the process took until about 1:30 a.m. Friday. He said Thursday a cause has not yet been determined, but the Kansas State Fire Marshal's Office was called off.

"It's amazing the people we have protecting our city," Martin said.

*Deb Madison from Medicalodges and Lynnette Emmerson from Fort Scott Manor reminded those attending about National Nursing Home Week and encouraged them to drop by either facility, where various activities are being held to celebrate the week. Emmerson also mentioned the May 21 Alzheimer's walk, set for noon in Pittsburg.

Funds raised go to provide respite care for those caring for patients dealing with the disease.

*Chamber Executive Director Lindsay Madison said she and at least eight Fort Scott residents attended a presentation students of the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Kansas Wednesday in Lawrence.

Students enrolled in Strategic Communication Campaigns worked on a semester-long marketing communications planning project on behalf of the chamber. Students offered samples of radio and TV spots and billboards.

Madison also reminded that the chamber will host a job fair May 25 at the Danny and Willa Ellis Family Fine Arts Center on the Fort Scott Community College campus, 2108 S. Horton.

*William James Schafer, director of pastoral care at Mercy Health Center, said his daughter, Theresa, will represent Kansas and Fort Scott at National History Day in Washington, D.C. She will be there June 12-16.

Her father said the family has formed the Schafer National History Day Fundraiser and will be selling honey whole wheat, potato, white and English muffin bread, plus silk pie to help defray travel costs.