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Category Archives: Commentary/Polls

Sunday blog: Can we have a little more Darwinism for awhile?

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — I was asked an interesting question the other day. Why do I write editorials?

Because I can, I guess.

The question comes at a time, when I haven’t really blazed the First Amendment trail as of late. The last editorial I wrote was more than a month ago when I wrote a snoozer about how private schools shouldn’t play with public schools in sports. That editorial aged me about 20 years just writing it.

Tracy “Cueball” McCue

My last “real” editorial came on Jan. 8 when I asked the city of Wellington to remove the Road Closed signs around that crumbling Lincoln Place. Boy, that editorial worked. It’s Feb. 24 and we still have those lovely orange signs on the corner of Lincoln and Washington. Maybe at this year’s Wheat Festival we can have a new contest, “Decorate the Road Closed signs” kind of like the Decorate Around the Poles contest during Christmas? Give the winner to the young lad who has the best Wheat Festival ornament.

One of the reasons I don’t write as many editorials these days, is simple:

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The elimination of income tax for small businesses question

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you support HB 2178 which would have eliminated Brownback's net income tax exemption for small businesses?

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Sunday blog: “The Donald” – is he a well man?

by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow columnist —  My observations, following, are not to be taken as political statements in any manner.  They are just personal observations of the two recent candidates, and their personalities, as individuals!

Being a Green Card holder (a.k.a. legal alien) I am not permitted to vote, so I have no political axe to grind.  To be clear, I did not lean towards either of the main party candidates and would have been unsure where to cast a vote, even I was allowed to do so—– which I am not.

Robert Escandon

Robert Escandon

Let’s look first at Hillary Clinton:  She represented more of the same with a future government locked-up in endless debate, arguing and achieving little that would be new.  She also illustrated how completely out of touch she was with ordinary working people.  For instance, when campaigning in Kentucky she stated that “Coal is dead.”

While this might be true — as society moves towards non-fossil fuel power sources— it was hardly the slogan to use when you wanted the votes of miners who have lost their jobs.  It’s no good telling middle-age miners that “we will retrain you for the coming technologies.”  Is some miner really going to drop his pick axe and go to College to learn coding?  Hillary simply displayed no empathy or understanding of a working class lifestyle. 

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Valentine’s Day question

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you care about Valentine's Day?

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Sunday blog: Nothing succeeds like success

Robert Escandon

Robert Escandon

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow columnist – Some years ago, while still living in England, I co-owned an Engineering business.  My business partner and I decided to negotiate with our wives for one week’s leave of absence so we could go to Daytona, Fla. for the annual motorbike races and festivities.  Both wives duly advanced permission, so the two of us flew to Daytona.

We did the expected things:  walked up and down looking at all the beautiful Harley Davidson’s and chatting to their proud owners.  I recall one man who, I thought at the time, was going a tad too far with the worship of his glorious machine.  There he was with leather chaps, gang tattoos, grey beard and ample stomach looking every bit like a hard biker dude! Somewhat surprisingly, he had a pink feather duster and was lovingly using it to clean between the cooling fins of the engine.  Now, I like a clean bike,  BUT ——–!!!

Basically, we had left our responsibilities at home and reverted to being two “grown-up little boys” for a week.    We also got a buzz from watching the Weather Channel and seeing the blizzards up north while we were basking in the Florida sunshine.

I took home memories of a fun and relaxing vacation.  However, there was one particular memory than stuck in my mind.

We heard on the news that the Space Shuttle was due for take-off the following morning at 6:30 a.m. and figured that this was an event we had to witness.  Unfortunately, Daytona is just too far from Cape Canaveral to view the launch directly — the horizon gets in the way.  But we reasoned that the shuttle would be visible, just a few seconds after take-off, if we stood on Daytona Beach and looked due south.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The post Super Bowl questions

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — This is our annual post Super Bowl poll. Answer carefully. With all that is going on in the world, this is important stuff.

 

 

 

 

With much of this Super Bowl being a blowout, how much of the game did you watch?

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Did you like the Lady Gaga halftime show?

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These were the top 3 Super Bowl commercials according to the USA Today ad meter. What is your favorite? (Commercials are below)

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Kia – Hero’s Journey

Sunday commentary: What is this Common Core Math stuff?

Robert Escandon

Robert Escandon

by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow columnist — We’ve all seen media stories of our young children coming home from school with math assignments that make them cry with frustration.  Plus, we have parents who are equally frustrated because they can’t help their kids with homework as simple as multiplication and division, because the “new Common Core” methodology bears little or no resemblance to the simple rote methods by which they themselves were taught.

Early on, teachers were informed that the upcoming Common Core would focus on the understanding of ‘why’ a particular math method works because this would benefit them, intellectually  in later mathematics.  Basic rote-learning of a particular methodology for solving math problems would — it was argued — not help them to acquire new and necessary future math skills for our rapidly changing world.  I read one article which described the Common Core approach as “education,” versus the traditional rote methods, as “Skill Training.”  At the introduction of Common Core, teachers were inspired to teach in-depth and not just in–breadth.  That was the mantra.  I’m still unsure precisely how to accomplish that.

The actual school Common Core Curriculum is even difficult for some teachers (myself included) to understand.  It is not written as a straight listing of competences to be achieved, which is what a College lecturer is given.  Instead, much of it reads like a mathematics lawyer authored it.  Example:  “Students will apply and abstract concepts applicable to a range of scenarios etc. etc.”

Special Sumner Newscow poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who will win Super Bowl L1?

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Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The temporary refugee halt question

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you agree with Trump's temporary halt of refugees and visitors from several Middle East and African countries?

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Guest editorial: Is ‘health insurance’ the same as ‘healthcare’

The following guest editorial is written by Robert Escandon, a former Wellington High School teacher and lived 2/3 of his life in Great Britain.  

by Robert Escandon, special to Sumner Newscow — I’ve have lived one third of my working life in our great nation and two thirds in Britain.  This is (and continues to be) a privilege.

Reading about another country is very good!  Visiting on vacation is even better.

Robert Escandon

Robert Escandon

But there is no substitute for living your life, for many years, in both.  Only when you live, work and become a community member of a society, do you really gain a deep understanding of the culture.  I am indeed privileged to have been able to do so.  I offer some observations.

There are more similarities than differences, between the U.S. and Britain.  However, there are just a few departures which are notable.  One specific example concerns healthcare:  Britain has a nationalized healthcare system and not an Insurance-based model.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The what America will look like in four years question

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four years from now, will the United States be better off, worse off, or about the same?

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Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Trump is about to become President question.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump is about to become President of the U.S. What best reflects your mood?

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Sunday blog: Time to force the private schools to play tougher competition

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — I was in New York City a few months ago, and someone actually asked me if most Kansans had electricity.

I told her, yes, and we are close to getting this new thingy called the Internet. The fact I was holding my smart phone was lost upon her.

Tracy "Cueball" McCue

Tracy “Cueball” McCue

I will say this though, even if Kansas has electricity, the Internet and smartphones and all this sophisticated weather equipment to accurately predict the ice storm of the century, we are slow to change on certain issues.

For example, why do we allow private schools to run all over public schools in high school sports?

I have been hearing this for years. People complain that private schools can sport better teams, because they have the ability to recruit athletes from anywhere and still keep their enrollment figures low.

Well, yes that is true. But no one will do anything about it!

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The social media question

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name the social media sites you participate in. (Answer as many as you like)

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Sunday Blog: Wrap it up

The Wellington Regent in the background has been adversely affected by road closing.

The Wellington Regent in the background has been adversely affected by road closing.

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Lincoln Place fiasco needs to be wrapped up as soon as possible, and if it means the demolishing of a century old building, so be it.

Tracy "Cueball" McCue

Tracy “Cueball” McCue

The Wellington City Council has been more than patient with the owners of the embattled building on Lincoln and Washington after water flowed through the building on July 14, 2016 due to large amounts of precipitation. Since then the road has been closed because of the fear of building collapse. I’d venture to say if that building did fall down, drivers on Lincoln Street would not be the only ones in peril.

I’m not here to point fingers on what should have, or shouldn’t have been done to save this building, but the fact we are in the middle of January and the road is still closed for six months, is testimony that bureaucracy is live and well in Wellington, Kans. One can pass judgment on either the property owner, the insurance company, the Wellington City staff, or the city council — but it doesn’t matter. The problem is not solved.

To me it’s a problem when Wellington has a legitimate business such as the Regent Theater, whose whole dependency is on foot traffic, is hurt due to a situation that is not the fault of their own.

In the original article this week, someone had asked a legitimate question, “I’m sorry, but how hard is it to go around?”

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The driverless car question

 

 

 

 

 

Are you looking forward to driverless cars in the future?

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Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The wind farm in Sumner County question

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you believe wind farms are a good thing for Sumner County?

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Sunday Blog: The reason why we loved Darwin Seal

Editor’s Note: I was looking for an uplifting Christmas story for the season. I thought about this tribute of Darwin Seal who died in 2012. This story was first published on Dec. 2, 2012. I think it is worth a revisit. Seal’s spirit is what Christmas is all about. 

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — No, I can’t remember the first time I met Darwin Seal.

He was always just there at the Wellington Dillons Grocery Store, bagging my groceries.

I don’t really remember ever not knowing Darwin after moving to Wellington. Somewhere along the line, we became friends, and he was just fun to talk to and I got the impression he liked me. 

What is your favorite Christmas movie of all time?

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is your favorite Christmas movie of all time?

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Sunday blog: Trust in the media may be hard to come by, but seeking it is essential

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — I read a story the other day which basically said the media is as trustworthy as Lindsay Lohan staying sober at a beer-swilling Oktoberfest celebration.

A recent Gallop Poll stated only 32 percent of the respondents taking their survey said the media reports news accurately and fairly. It gets worse amongst Republicans, whose trust in the media has plummeted to 14 percent. Heck, even Democrats don’t care for the media that much with a popularity rate of 50 percent.

Tracy "Cueball" McCue

Tracy “Cueball” McCue

I’m not sure if I can even trust that poll. Didn’t those same poll takers proclaim Hillary Clinton the next President?

And how do you define trust? Do people trust the media so little they refuse to read or watch the news, or do they trust them just enough to decipher what is right or wrong? I guess that’s why I became a reporter. I trust hardly no one – except my mom and she once told me if I played with matches I would wet the bed.

I can’t speak on behalf of my other media brethren, but fairness and accuracy in my reporting is hugely important to me, especially in this age of misinformation. I see so much junk on Facebook and other social media sites that is quite simply not true, that one of my goals is to provide a place that people can come for accurate news. Google analytics statistics have shown you the readers continue to believe in this product at an ever increasing rate. Sumner Newscow’s hit rate continues to grow even after five years of existence.

There is no doubt I and my fellow news reporters make and will continue to make mistakes. As my old Wellington Daily News publisher boss and humorous Jackson Mitchell once said:

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