Category Archives: Commentary/Polls

Guest Editorial II: In the long run the irrigation system could bring great $$$ to golf course

Golf and its course graphic

The following is a guest editorial by Eric Pierce, who is an independent business consultant and an avid Sumner Newscow reader…

by Eric Pierce, an independent consultant —  First the Wellington Golf Irrigation System investment although seems staggering to many is actually quite a sound and intelligent investment. Sticker shock has people wondering why we are doing this when so much turmoil remains in the majority of the city. I have created an “Impact Analysis” of the new irrigation system. I am basing this solely on round cost and rounds played and projecting general modest increases and decreases in certain areas. I will breakdown the reasoning behind those later. Look at my following figure here.

In 2015, according to WGC figures, there were 18,000 rounds played at the Wellington Golf Course — 6,000 rounds of the 18,000 are from out of town golfers. The basis for this analysis is to not only retain that current rate of out of town rounds but slightly increase them through a more efficient/more manicured course. Another reason for this analysis is to prove that it is a sound investment. Because of the cost of the new irrigation system the cost of a round needs to increase roughly $2 a round to begin to offset the cost. It will only be a fraction of the cost but we have to start somewhere! Also inflation needs to be addressed so increasing the dollars per round only generates additional revenues as the price for a round of golf is generally fairly elastic as long as your course is maintained.

Guest editorial: New Legislation could help SRMC receive an additional $583,000 a year

Guest editorial generic

Commentary by Kim Moore, President, United Methodist Health Ministry Fund — New legislation titled “The Bridge to a Healthy Kansas” program would make health insurance affordable for hardworking Kansas people with low incomes. It provides a bridge from public assistance into the private market over time by promoting personal responsibility and accountability.

This new Kansas solution is not Obamacare. It is centered on our values of hard work and personal responsibility – a solution that does not leave those in need without health care coverage. The Bridge to a Healthy Kansas is not only good for 150,000 Kansans; it also is good for Kansas taxpayers, businesses and the economy.

Opponents of expansion tend to use the term “able-bodied” to describe a population they imply does not deserve access to health insurance. These are our bus drivers, child care workers, medical assistants, dishwashers, housekeepers, landscapers, fast food workers, college students and single parents staying home with young children. They are a vulnerable population, too, and to suggest otherwise because they are “able-bodied” is incorrect.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The O.J. Simpson trial question








It has been 20 years since the O.J. Simpson murder trial. What is your feeling today?

View Results

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Kyle Hoffmann: Making our local hospital more reliant on federal money can be unwise

Guest editorial generic

Commentary by Kyle Hoffman, 116th District state representative — Living in a small community and helping with the health needs of aging parents, I know that access to healthcare is important to rural communities like Wellington and the surrounding area. With that in mind, I appreciate the opportunity to respond to Tracy’s Sunday Blog and Mr. Deschaine’s coments about Medicaid. It’s necessary to share a few important factors about Medicaid expansion that the people of Wellington deserve to know.

Kyle Hoffman

Kyle Hoffman

First a little background, Medicaid is the government healthcare program for low-income and disabled Kansans. It’s designed to serve truly vulnerable people—Kansans who are physically or intellectually disabled, children, pregnant women, women who’ve given birth in the last year, and the frail and elderly. Medicaid expansion would begin including able bodied adults without children who have income up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, some who already have private health insurance now.

The federal government under Obamacare entices states to expand their Medicaid programs with the promise of “free money,” but history shows that the feds rarely keep their funding promises. Although as McCue and Deschaine said, there is no proof that the money will disappear, the money is also not guaranteed. Earlier this month, the U.S. Congress voted to dismantle Obamacare–including the money for Medicaid expansion. The vote indicates there is a very real possibility the federal law will be repealed and replaced once President Obama leaves office. Making our local hospital reliant on a law that has a high likelihood of being repealed is unwise.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The concealed gun carry law question








What statement below most closely reflects your views on concealed carry laws in public?

  • I'm OK with concealed carry as long as people take proper gun training classes. (39%, 142 Votes)
  • Only people with concealed carry permits from extensive training should be allowed to carry a gun in public. (29%, 104 Votes)
  • People should be able to carry a gun anywhere without any stipulations. (21%, 75 Votes)
  • Only the police should be able to carry a gun in public. (9%, 32 Votes)
  • Guns should be banned. Period. (3%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 363

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Sunday blog: Time and time again: Money talks, money walks

Five Cueball thoughts

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Sometimes I wonder if the lack of hair on my scalp is not a result of male pattern baldness but of years of daily pulling it out due to agony and distress.

Three stories came out this past two weeks that illustrates an important axiom. Money talks. Money walks.

One involves the Wal-Mart corporation, the other involves the moving of the St. Louis Rams, and then the third involves our own hospital: Sumner Regional Medical Center.

Wal-Mart was in Clearwater for a nanosecond.

Wal-Mart was in Clearwater for a nanosecond.

Wal-mart’s short days

The Wal-Mart corporation, which owns the world, has announced it is closing many of its stores. Thankfully, the Wellington Super Center is not listed as one of the cuts. But up the road, Clearwater is losing its Wal-Mart Express.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Earthquake question








Are you worried about a major Earthquake hitting Sumner County?

  • No. (62%, 163 Votes)
  • Yes. (21%, 56 Votes)
  • Who knows? (17%, 44 Votes)

Total Voters: 263

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Terry Deschaine: Let’s tell our politicians to expand Medicaid in Kansas

Guest editorial generic

Editor’s noteThe following is a guest editorial by Terry Deschaine, a native of Wellington and a member of the board of trustees at Sumner Regional Medical Center. He was chief executive officer of a hospital in Southeast Kansas prior to his retirement.

Terry Deschaine

Terry Deschaine

by Terry Deschaine, Special to Sumner Newscow — After 21 years as the chief executive officer of a hospital in Southeast Kansas, I moved back to my hometown in August 2012.

I was appointed to the board of Sumner Regional Medical Center in August 2013, and I quickly learned exactly how desperate the hospital’s situation was.

The board seriously considered closing the hospital, but with financial support from the city and county, strong medical staff backing for needed operational changes, dedicated employees and amazing patient/community loyalty, we have taken steps to reverse the situation.  But the hospital still is struggling with cash flow to maintain operations and pay debts.

As a former hospital administrator and current hospital board member, I implore our state leaders and lawmakers to expand KanCare, the Medicaid program that provides insurance coverage for low-income working residents.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Brownback proposed defunding planned parenthood question








What do you think of Brownback's directive to defund Planned Parenthood?

  • That's a terrible idea. (49%, 156 Votes)
  • Bravo! (38%, 121 Votes)
  • I'd like to research this a little further. (13%, 41 Votes)

Total Voters: 318

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Sunday blog: A testimony for staying put

Five Cueball thoughts

Wellington sign column

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Since you are all moving away to Funkytown, I probably should peck this column out before you bring in the U-Haul trailer.

But before you go, can I tell you one thing?

You aren’t going anywhere.

And if you’re going, you aren’t going because of high taxes and high utilities. That might be part of your equation, or what you think is your reason for leaving. But it isn’t the full equation.

People move for emotional reasons and convenience.

People move for a myriad of reasons, but most of us don’t.

And if we do move, most of us are moving across town. 

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Obama gun control plan question








Do you support President Obama's new actions on gun control?

  • No (72%, 224 Votes)
  • Yes (28%, 89 Votes)

Total Voters: 313

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Letter to editor: We just wanted to retire in peace

Sumner Newscow letter to editor

To the editor: 

My wife and I have lived in Sumner County for 34 years and in Wellington for almost 20 of those years.  I just want to let off some steam.  During those years I have held the following positions: Mayor of Belle Plaine, Council Member Belle Plaine, President of Booster Club Belle Plaine, Vice President of Booster Club Belle Plaine, Police Reserve Officer Belle Plaine, Sheriff Reserve for Sumner County, Wellington Chamber Representative, Member of Wellington Golf Club 20 plus years, and worked at BAE for 25 years and Clark’s for five years.

During that time we have never been happier with a town or citizens as caring and loving as here in south central Kansas.  But since I retired about five years ago I have never been so disappointed in a town or people in my life than I am right now.  I have a neighbor who complains to the city — I get a letter from Jamie who is understanding — every time I leave something in the alley or something on my trailer. 

If you were to know me or watch my home, there are not very many people in town who take care of their place as well as I do and if you go down my alley, there is none in town better, but still not good enough for the neighbor I live next to.  They even complained to the cable company when they ran a cable from a pole behind my neighbors house in the alley to my house because it crossed over the corner of their yard, even though it was legal and 12 foot above the ground.  The cable company in order to please her moved the cable over behind my house just attached to the cable line itself between the poles. 

Sunday blog: Five things that I would like to see in 2016…

Five Cueball thoughts

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Five things I’d like to see in 2016…

Keith's birthday

1. Another story like this

My favorite story by far in 2015 is the one about Keith Finley, Wellington’s most devoted sports fan – something that wasn’t mentioned in the previous top 10 lists.

The Wellington High School student body in February gave Keith a surprise birthday party when he turned 43. During that down time between the WHS basketball game and the Duke Crowning ceremony, Keith was presented a letter jacket, a Crusader shirt and a hat. Then the whole student body and everyone in attendance sang happy birthday to him.

Every time I see Keith walking around town in his letter jacket I nearly tear up. So many people criticize today’s youth for so many reasons. But that act of kindness on Feb. 7 by the WHS students makes me believe that this world is going to be in really good hands.

2. Less city controversy

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The 2016 question








What do you think will most likely happen in 2016?

  • Donald Trump becomes President. (34%, 115 Votes)
  • The earth gets hit by an astroid causing us to die. (19%, 65 Votes)
  • Hillary Clinton becomes President. (19%, 64 Votes)
  • The Chiefs go to the Super Bowl. (12%, 41 Votes)
  • The Royals win another World Series. (10%, 33 Votes)
  • Sumner County has an economic boom. (4%, 13 Votes)
  • Governor Brownback proposes a stunning budget proposal that gets Kansas out of its financial pickle. (2%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 337

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Letter: Oh, to be like Rocky and the spirit of Santa Claus

Sumner Newscow letter to editor

The following is a letter to the editor written by Al Melichar of Caldwell. Readers are encouraged to write letters to the editors which will be run on the next Sunday. Letters to the editors requires a signature, a valid e-mail address and preferably a telephone number for confirmation purposes. Letters will be treated as individual stories and will include the comment section option thereafter. To submit Letters to the Editor, send it to our e-mail address at or by mail at: P.O. Box 755, Wellington, Kans. 67152.

Al Melichar

Al Melichar

To the editor:

Best Question Asked:

In 1897, 8 year old Virginia Hanlon wrote the editor of the New York Sun to ask a simple question that resulted in an essay being printed countless times, “Is there a Santa Claus?” The Sun’s answer gave her and millions of boys and girls excitement of believing in Santa Claus.  It would be great to simply write to someone and get a quick reply about how a disease could be cured.  In Turi and my case it is Alzheimer’s.

I recently attended a conference for Alzheimer’s in Wichita.  What began with a couple of hundred attendees at the annual Alzheimer’s conference in Wichita five years ago, is now over a five hundred.  People had to stand in the back of the room since all seats  were taken .  I listened to researchers give their latest findings about early detection and  cure for this disease.  I found it shocking to know that most Alzheimer’s patients have the disease as much as 15 years to 20 years before they are diagnosed.  Some speakers were individual caregivers who shared supportive ways to help other caregivers with their love ones.   Attending workshops and conferences have helped Turi and I make our days very enjoyable or as our doctor would say, “another day in paradise.”   

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Star Wars question








Have you watched the newest Star Wars movie?

  • I have no interest in the movie. (40%, 118 Votes)
  • Not yet. But I plan to. (32%, 94 Votes)
  • Actually, I would rather drill holes in my head. (15%, 44 Votes)
  • Yes, and I loved, loved, loved it. (13%, 39 Votes)
  • Yes, but it was OK - kind of disappointing. (1%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 297

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Sunday blog: The thing about pizza and local economics

Five Cueball thoughts

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Sumner County Economic Development Commission recently sent a press release that a Nebraska pizza company is holding a complimentary tasting event in Wellington Wednesday, January 6 at 5:30 p.m. at the Raymond Frye Complex. Sam & Louie’s New York Pizzeria is looking to expand its business in Kansas and chose Wellington as one of its prospective locations to test market.

I am intrigued and hope the company takes Sumner County and Wellington seriously in their business expansion hopes. That’s not to say we don’t already have good pizza establishments here in the community. But for a community to evolve, there needs to be an influx new business and commerce. Otherwise, the community dies and withers away.

Pizza for column

I kind of thought the reaction to the proposal of a “possibility” of getting a Sam & Louie’s was interesting and a bit troubling. Three comments on this sit in particular made me ponder:

“The thing about pizza, you’re loyal where you get it from. It’s not like a burger.”

“I find this disappointing. We need solid jobs.”

“We don’t need another pizza place. Why not a Montana Mikes?”

OK. These are comments like pizza, I can sink my teeth into.

Let’s address the first comment…

“The thing about the pizza, you’re loyal where you get it from. It’s not like a burger.”

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Wichita State gets football question








What would you do if Wichita State initiated a football program?

View Results

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Letter to editor: Antibiotics is important for the protection of farm animals and our food supply

Sumner Newscow letter to editor

Editor’s note: The following was a letter e-mailed by Justina Metz, Sumner County Farm Bureau Association Coordinator. If you wish to submit a letter to the editor, e-mail us at or send it to our address at Sumner Newscow, P.O. Box 755, Wellington, Kans., 67152. 

To the Editor: 

Antibiotic use on farm animals has made the headlines lately.  It’s often reported that they are used haphazardly and without thought or consequent.  This could not be further from the truth.

Antibiotics are an important tool that help protect not only farm animals but our food supply.  We don’t have health insurance for our animals.  Farmers work with veterinarians hand in hand, and they are prescribed only when necessary.  Just as parents don’t immediately give antibiotics to their children, farmers don’t treat animals with antibiotics until there’s a medical need.  Without the ability to use antibiotics, innocent animals would die from basic, treatable conditions.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The where you work question








Do you like your job?

  • Yes. I couldn't imagine working anywhere else. (37%, 80 Votes)
  • I don't work/retired. (30%, 64 Votes)
  • I like my job, just not my employer. (12%, 26 Votes)
  • I'm the owner of my business. (12%, 25 Votes)
  • No. I wish I was working someplace else. (10%, 21 Votes)

Total Voters: 216

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