Category Archives: Featured

Despite the Coronavirus, Melanie Cox didn’t let Memorial Day go by without saluting the American soldiers

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The days of the Coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll, and Memorial Day has been no exception.

But Melanie Cox, for the 41st straight year, was there to play her silver trumpet at Prarie Lawn Cemetery playing the National Anthem and Taps. The Wellington American Legion #90 Rifling squad was also there to give the gun salute. And in the end those who were in attendance did what they always did – salute the American soldiers, who fought to make us free.

“People who have served our country, have paid the ultimate sacrifice and I can’t imagine not doing the service today,” Cox said. “It isn’t just those who lost their lives on the battlefield, but those who came back with the post-stress disorder.”

The service was abbreviated, without the featured speaker, the boy scouts raising of the flags, and the ringing of the bell to mark every American conflict. Prairie Lawn Cemetery was without the Avenue of the Flags for the first time since its inception.

Sunday blog: Wellington needs to change its narrative

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. For years, I have heard doom and gloom about Wellington, and as the saying goes, nothing much has changed. The complaints have not changed much either.

James Jordan

If you want change to happen you have to do something different. You can talk about the good old days all you want, but they are not coming back, and they may not have really been all that good. You can also gripe and moan about problems, but that has never solved anything either.

Wellington is not unique in its struggles. There are a lot of small towns in rural America with the same issues – health care, housing, employment – and they are usually the big issues. Wellington is not the most vibrant small rural town I have seen, but it is also far from the worst.

The city is working on a strategic plan and is seeking public input. One of the goals of the plan is to “change the narrative” about the city. You can access the survey and get more on the strategic plan here.

Updated: Wellington Churches are re-opening, here is the latest

By Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — As the economy slowly reopens during the Coronavirus pandemic shutdown, so go the churches. Here are what Wellington churches are doing as of May 23. If your church is not included on this list, send us information at or in the comment section below. 

First Christian Church

Worship in the sanctuary will resume on Sunday, June 7 according to pastor James Byer.

The first service begins at 9 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. The second service will follow from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. There will be two services for June 7, 14, and 21. There will be no Sunday Schools but there will be a nursery during the service.

There are plenty of details on how the service will be conducted. Click here for more details about the service.

Church Ignited 

Church Ignited will not resume services until June 7.  Church officials have started a small group Bible study on Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. this week at the church.

Attendees are requested to wear a face mask and maintain appropriate social distance.  Additionally, Church Ignited is holding an ongoing Zoom Bible study at 7 p.m. on Wednesday evenings.  Contact Pastor Skinner for an invitation to the Zoom Bible study if people are interested.  Both studies are covering the same material.  Weekly message can be seen on Facebook at Church Ignited Kansas every Sunday after 9:30 a.m.  The pastor can be reached at

When Church Ignited services resume, people will be expected to wear face masks and appropriate social distancing as required by the state.

“Our church is not closed,” said Wendell Skinner, Church Ignited pastor. “Only the building.  We are just trying to be good neighbors.

St. John’s Lutheran Church

CultureCow: Without Arts and Humanities, a college is no longer a place of higher learning

By Devin McCue, Sumner Newscow —  Happy Friday. Over the past week, I had a sister graduate from college and within the next few months, I’ll have another sibling start his collegiate experience which calls for a time to reflect.  I earned my Bachelor’s degree in 2017 with a double-major in history and art history and the following year a Master’s degree in management, which means I got to see both sides of a decades-old ridiculous fight: the fight over what college is supposed to be “for.”

In undergrad, I heard over and over, “what are you going to do with that degree” and the answer I always had was “whatever I want.”  Because while a business degree ensures you can get any lower-tier job you want at a franchise somewhere, humanities degrees teach you much more valuable skills.

The reason I bring it up now is that schools like Missouri Western State University are taking hatchets to their budgets and the first thing to hit the cutting room floor was their entire humanities departments.  They cut 30 percent of their faculty, including the entire history, political science, sociology, economics, and music departments.  On the heels of that, Liberty University announced this week that they would no longer be offering philosophy as a major. 

Drury Park given new life, will re-open Saturday

Drury Dam

by Amber Countryman, Sumner Newscow —  Drury Park has been given new life, thanks to the new owner, Rick Conner. In 2018, Conner purchased the park and other lands in Drury, Kan.

Since that time, he has been working on updating the park. The outhouse has a new cement slab under it, new vent, and new door. The old metal rules sign and cofferdam once used to work on the dam, will be repurposed for a visitor center. Conner has also done a lot of dirt work in the park.

“The water standing in the park was almost like quicksand before we started the work,” Conner said.

A soft opening is planned this Saturday, May 23. Admission to fish will be free, but you must possess a Kansas state fishing license, and a waiver must be signed. Per the governor’s orders, due to COVID-19, campsites will not be open just yet.

2020 Kansas Wheat Festival has been cancelled

Submitted to Sumner Newscow — The following is a press release by Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Valerie Earl. 


“The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all and changed how we approach everyday life. The Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce/CVB regrets to announce the cancellation of the Kansas Wheat Festival for 2020. This decision was not entered into lightly but was deemed necessary in the interest of the safety of our community, staff and volunteers. The Board of directors and staff feel it is the right decision.

Factors discussed included:
-Recommendations on mass gatherings from the CDC and local health officials.

-Significant expenses that can not be recovered if the event does not take place

-Difficulty obtaining necessary infrastructure and supplies including public restrooms, etc.

Moving forward, the Chamber will explore different opportunities to celebrate during the normal Wheat Festival week with virtual, and smaller-scale events that comply with crowd restrictions. We will also explore how we can expand the Fall Festival to include some of the elements from the Wheat Festival.

Sumner County Court Docket: May 22 report

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The following are a list of criminal court complaints recently filed by the Sumner County Attorney’s office.

These are formal charges introduced into the Sumner County District Court system. The suspects listed in the complaint have not been tried by a judge or jury unless specified otherwise. All citizens are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


Wellington Council tells WRC to reopen pool on June 15

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Wellington City Council gave the go-ahead to open the pool on June 15 at this week’s meeting at the council chambers.

As the state slowly reopens so is the council. This marked the first meeting in which all the council members were present in the same room since the pandemic hit in March. The members were lined up in two rows of tables six feet apart with City Manager Shane Shield and City Clerk Carol Mericle sitting at their customary side tables. No one else was allowed in the room.

After considerable discussion, the council decided by unanimous consent that the pool will reopen Monday, June 15 with social distancing guidelines. The council did not provide any specific directives leaving those details up to the Wellington Recreation Commission, which operates the pool during the summer.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The social distancing question in late May question






Are you social distancing as much as you were a month ago?

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Wellington School District announces Class of 2020 Cum Laude honorees

Sumner Newscow report — The Wellington School District announced its Cum Laude honorees for 2020. Six Wellington seniors were named as the top honorees of Summa Cum Laude. Four Wellington seniors were named Magna Cum Laude, and four Wellington seniors were named Cum Laude.

Summa Cum Laude winners – GPA 3.5 or better, ACT 29 or better, KS Scholar Curriculum Completers, 3 or more AP Classes: Tyler Brown, Austin Fink, Karsten Gill, Brody Groom, Mason Lough and Caleb Starnes.

Tyler Brown

Austin Fink

Karsten Gill

Brody Groom

Mason Lough

Caleb Starns

Magna Cum Laude winners – GPA 3.5 or better, ACT 26 or better, KS Scholar Curriculum Completers, 2 or more AP Classes: Rowan Catlett, Austin Harriger, John Long, and Quinn McCue.

As Kansas moves into Phase 2.0, Mid-America Dragway and Wellington Regent will reopen

Sumner Newscow report — Kansas will take the next step in its reopening on Friday, when movie theaters, museums, non-tribal casinos and other indoor entertainment venues will be permitted to reopen. Gov. Laura Kelly unveiled the changes Tuesday — the latest rollback of restrictions after weeks of lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Subsequently, a couple of local business owners have announced their reopenings. 

Mid-America Dragway, six miles west of Arkansas City on U.S. 166, will reopen on Saturday and Sunday. There will be a race called the “Quarantine Comeback Throwdown.” The gates will open at 8 a.m. with time runs starting at 10 a.m. Click here for more details.

•Wellington Regent, our favorite local movie theater, will reopen on Thursday, June 4 with the playing of Pulp Fiction – a 1990s Quinten Tarantino movie. First-run movies won’t be available for at least a month, according to Jerry Fike, Regent Theater owner. The opening of “Mulan” which was the movie the Regent was going to show when the pandemic hit in March, will start on July 24.

Bars and night clubs, along with swimming pools, will stay closed.

Wellington High School released summer weights and condition program

Sumner Newscow report — The following is an outline of the Summer Weights and Condition program by Wellington Activities Director Luke Smith.

We will start PSQ when we are in Phase 3 of the reopening plan, which right now is scheduled for June 15. For the first two weeks, we will only have high school students coming to PSQ

Phase 3: June 15- 26: High School only

1) Adhere to social distancing guidelines established by the Governor and Sumner Co. Health Department. (PHASE 3)

a) Mass Gatherings of no more than 90 individuals are allowed. We will limit 30 people max in each location: (weight room, main gym, aux gym) or conduct conditioning outside to help maintain social distancing

b) Maintain 6 ft. of social distancing with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity.

2) Adhere to KSHSAA Guidelines:

Click it or Ticket program has been initiated in Wellington… You have been warned

Sumner Newscow report — The following is a press release by Wellington Police Chief Tracy Heath concerning “Click it or Ticket” program which started this week.


“We started this yesterday, and will continue through Sunday, May 31, travelers can expect increased police presence on Wellington streets as we join 180 other law enforcement agencies in aggressively enforcing Kansas occupant restraint and other traffic laws as part of the 2020 Kansas Click It or Ticket campaign.

This activity is supported by a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation. Enforcement will occur around the clock because seatbelt use diminishes after nightfall, meaning the likelihood of unbelted crash injuries and deaths soars during those hours.  Drivers will be confronted with strict enforcement of both the Kansas Safety Belt Use Act and the Kansas Child Passenger Safety Act.

Sad news: The Avenue of Flags will not be displayed this year due to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Avenue of flags will not occur this Memorial Day weekend in 2020. 

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Avenue of Flags, a Memorial Day weekend tradition in which Prairie Lawn Cemetary is decorated in over 1,200 flags, will not happen in 2020.

Andy McEntire, the chief organizer for the Avenue of Flags which was to happen on May 23-25, said the event is canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic guidelines.

“There is no way we can do this and use proper social distancing,” McEntire said. “We have 70 to 100 people who volunteer to put the flags up in the flag poles each year. We just can’t do it this year.” 

Wellington Police weekend report: Friday, May 15 – Sunday, May 17, 2020

Wellington Police report for this weekend: Friday, May 15 to Sunday, May 17, 2020:

Friday, May 15, 2020

Sumner County Sheriff office weekly report: May 11 to May 18, 2020

Sumner Newscow report — The Sumner County Sheriff Office report for May 11 to May 18, 2020 weekly jail bookings are as follows: 

Sunday blog: Whether Summit should have or shouldn’t have been dumped, Monday’s vote was reckless

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — I have some mixed feelings on Monday about the Wellington school board’s dumping of the Summit program.

On one hand it was unfair, impractical, and basically threw the teachers and administrators under the bus.

On the other hand, the school board majority did exactly what it said it was going to do when first elected. I don’t necessarily believe the school board should be an extended branch of the administration.

My biggest beef with Monday’s vote is that this board didn’t present an adequate exit plan. “What next?” is a legitimate concern. I would have probably extended the program one more year until there was a secure alternative plan in place. Yes, if Summit was the evil purveyor of educational manipulation as its opponents say it is, we do have a group of students, sophomores and juniors, who have spent two years under its guise. I’m not sure another year would have been devastating until the school district came up with a specific plan especially since the students are finally used to it.

Question of the day: Will the Wellington swimming pool open this summer?

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Summer is right around the corner and one of the biggest questions to be answered is if and when the Wellington public pool will be opened for the summer.

Normally, the Wellington pool opens on Memorial Day weekend. Obviously, that is not going to happen under the COVID-19 pandemic guidelines.

The Wellington City Council is scheduled to discuss the pool opening at its next meeting this Tuesday. The meeting will be streamed live via YouTube through the city website (click here).

Governor Laura Kelly has moved Kansas to “Phase 1.5” which lasts from Monday, May 18 until May 31. Kansas is then scheduled to enter into “Phase 2” on June 1 giving public swimming pools the ability to operate. Her mandate on Thursday has most certainly thrown a wrench in public pool openings, delaying the process for at least two weeks. 

WRC announces summer baseball/softball program updates

Click to enlarge.

Sports? On CultureCow? Quarantine is getting to everyone

Commentary by Devin McCue, Sumner Newscow — Happy Friday. This week on CultureCow, I’m going to step a little out of my comfort zone and discuss something usually reserved for Tracy McCue himself: sports.  Contrary to what longtime readers might think, I do fancy watching sports, namely the NBA and football games in which my fantasy team has a stake in. But it’s by no means my favorite thing on television.

But there is a special place in which sports and filmmaking overlap: the lauded sports documentary.  Sports documentaries have the challenging job of making someone care and feel moved by a story that is ultimately about someone (usually a man) playing a game better than everyone else around them.  Most filmmakers accomplish this feat by talking about the historical and cultural context that made this athlete so important, but sometimes it literally just is how well someone put a ball in a certain place.  And such is the case of the newest sports docuseries that’s captured the eyes of a nation: the Last Dance.

The Last Dance is a 10-part docuseries that tells the admittedly fascinating story of Michael Jordan through the lens of his last season with the Chicago Bulls.  Michael Jordan was the most famous person in the entire world for nearly a decade and managed to win 3 championships in a row twice, only taking a break in the middle to play an entirely separate professional sport.  He starred in the extremely successful and iconic movie Space Jam

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