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Category Archives: Commentary/Polls

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Mayor dismissal question

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Do you feel Mayor Shelley Hansel was right to ask councilman Kip Etter to step down?

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Etter apologizes to community; explains details of past month in letter to editor

Sumner Newscow letter to editor

To the editor:

I would like to start off by taking complete responsibility for my actions and admit that I could have handled myself in a more professional manner. I’m only human, I’m far from perfect and I have made many mistakes in my life (this being one). I am certain that I will make more mistakes, most likely on a daily basis.

Kip Etter 8-23-16

Kip Etter

However, with that same certainty I can assure you that I will make every effort possible to identify those mistakes, learn from them and better myself. To all of the citizens of Wellington, please accept my apology for my unprofessional behavior at the August 2 Wellington City Council Meeting. I know now that I could have handled myself differently. I will now take this opportunity to provide you with some insight as to what I was thinking; why I took the actions that I did, along with some questions that I now have. Please bear in mind while you read this, that based upon obvious reasons this is the only platform that I have for communication.

With regards to my comment: The audio clearly states that I said “I’m Resigning”. I never specified a date that said resignation was to begin, it was not directed to anyone in specific, and was said in haste under my breath and would not have been heard had it not been for the audio equipment. Given the fact that no specific date was given, it’s not a binding resignation. Furthermore, an elected official has the right to change his/her mind without Council (or The Mayor’s) approval. My comment was not followed up with anything in writing so it isn’t official, nor was it accepted and/or voted on by The Council so it is not a valid resignation.

Sunday editorial: An open letter to the Wellington City Council

Sumner Newscow editorial

Dear Wellington City Council:

Cool it!

Please put to rest this absurd, stupid, and absolutely unnecessary controversy surrounding council member Kip Etter and his supposed resignation, forced step down or whatever you want to call it.

It is clear from the video that Etter’s verbal resignation was done in haste and in a fit of anger, with little forethought.

So why not treat it as such? Ignore it and move on.

It is disappointing that Etter chose to behave this way, which is not worthy of the position that is bestowed upon him. There seems to be troubling repeated behavior for a man who has progressive and forward thinking ideas. I can only hope that Etter develops a sense of humility as he moves forward. I, myself, am willing to forgive him for past transgressions, because of his leadership potential of the future.

It is also disappointing that Vince Wetta, a man I admire for his years of civil service, decided to shirk protocol and take matters in his own hand by hiring at-the-time prospective city manager candidate Shane Shields without the consultation of the full city council body. It was an arrogant move.

It is disappointing the council never could come up with an orderly process in the first place for this important decision of hiring a city manager.

It is disappointing that Mayor Shelley Hansel took it upon herself by telling Etter to step down when it appears through research she does not have the legal authority to do so.

Letter to the editor: So what’s the deal people with not signing your name?

Sumner Newscow letter to editor

To the editor: A little something I put together for your consideration.  Your option as to whether to run it or not, as always, and your option as to when, if ever, you decide to publish it.

I am writing this in response to the two articles reported on this week regarding the city council and Mr. Kip Etter.  To begin with, I do not know Mr. Etter, and have never, to my knowledge, had any kind of dealings with him.  I don’t know what kind of person he is.  For all I know he very well may be a very nice young man.  Or not.  

I have heard a number of people talk about him regarding several things that have transpired here in town regarding other businesses, and of course I have read about what has happened with the city council.  But over the years, and especially now, I tend to take whatever I hear with a grain of salt.  If I wasn’t there, I really can’t pass judgement on anyone or anything.  That being said, lets move on.

The old saying goes “Opinions are like (well, you know), everybody’s got one and they all stink.”  The two articles reported on dealing with this matter had, as of the time of this writing, 80 replies.  This tells me several things.  The first being there are a lot of people who are concerned, one way or the other, as to what’s actually going on in Wellington.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The U.S. on the right/wrong track question

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Do you believe the U.S. is heading in the right or wrong direction?

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Sunday blog: Why is airing out our dirty laundry on TV such a good idea for Wellington?

Five Cueball thoughts

Zombie being interviewed in Wellington

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — I googled the “Jerry Springer Show” before writing this editorial. I legitimately wondered if the show known for barbaric people throwing chairs at one another was still on TV. According to the trusty Wikipedia page, it most certainly is. It has been on for 25 years and is still going strong. Wow, 25 years.

Jerry SpringerThe reason I bring up Jerry Springer, a show I rarely think about and God forbid actually watch, is it serves as a metaphor. It is the ultimate public humiliation show. It sets people up to look foolish in front of millions for their viewing pleasure. There are people who want attention, and there are plenty out there willing to let them have it.

I tend to think in some ways when a Wichita television station news truck pulls into Wellington to do a “fact finder” or a “news on your side” expose, Wellington, as a whole, is about took look like those saps on the Springer show. There is something rotten happening in Wellington. And the rest of the state needs to know about it.

This week, a news story surfaced on Wichita TV about our high utility rates. That is a legitimate concern and people have reason to complain. But my problem isn’t the subject matter as it is becoming a statewide news story. The routine is always the same whether it be no more horses in the parade, a silly football skirmish, or the hospital closing when it is not. Newscasts are single dimensional. A TV reporter talks to about three or four individuals, including someone “on the street” who usually has little idea what the subject matter is about, leaves town, edits the story and puts it on the news broadcast later that evening.

There rarely is a follow up, or if the problem has been solved.

And I’m usually perplexed. Why would someone in Salina care about Wellington’s high utility rates? Where is the statewide news interest? Do I care if say, they have high utility rates in Garden City?

Sunday analysis: Was the immediate naming of Shane Shields as city manager a good thing for Wellington?

Sumner Newscow analysis

by James Jordan, Sumner NewscowThe Wellington City Council could hire Shane Shields to be its next city manager at its meeting Tuesday. At its last meeting in somewhat of a surprise move, the council voted to hire Shields contingent on negotiating a contract. The issue of city manager is not on the agenda that was released Friday, but there is an executive session on the agenda to do the negotiations.

Shane Shields

Shane Shields

Mayor Shelley Hansel said it is possible they could come out of executive session and vote to hire Shields and make it official. They could also continue the negotiations and make the official move at a later time.

At the last regular meeting council member Vince Wetta surprised his fellow council members by making a motion to hire Shields. That came as they were discussing whether to hire the league of municipalities to run a search and help them hire a city manager at a cost of about $6,000.

At a work session the week before the council had talked about the issue, and whether they should just go ahead and hire Shields instead of going through the search. Three council members expressed an interest in hiring Shields instead of doing the search, but other members wanted to do the search anyway, even though almost all said they thought Shields might well emerge as the top candidate.

Kelly Hawley quote 8-13-16Shields is the current interim city manager, and served in that capacity a couple of years ago when the city was searching for city manager that resulted in the hiring of Roy Eckert. The council dismissed Eckert a few months ago and was faced with looking for a manager again.

The motion by Wetta passed by a  4-2 vote. Kip Etter and Kelly Hawley voted no. Etter seemed upset and left the meeting abruptly and did not return. He also missed the next work session meeting, but was celebrating his anniversary with his wife. He has not responded to questions about leaving the meeting. Hawley also left, but returned moments later.

Hawley said later it was a “huge surprise” that the motion was made to hire Shields, especially when a consensus had been reached at an earlier meeting to go through the process of taking applications with the league of municipalities running the search.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Olympics viewing question

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How much of the Olympics are you watching?

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Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The permanent city manager question

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Do you approve of making Shane Shields the permanent Wellington City Manager?

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To the editor: Please take the time to be informed the old fashioned way

Sumner Newscow letter to editor

To the Editor It is looking like we as Sumner County citizens may be presented with an opportunity to take a step toward fighting our county’s population decline by welcoming Cowley College and its superb educational opportunities and technical training programs to Wellington!

Phil White

Phil White

Sure, it’s a step that will cost each of us money, but it is perhaps the best opportunity our community has seen in quite a while.

However, before we as taxpayers begin debating whether we can afford to help support such a facility, we owe it to ourselves to learn what is being proposed, what it truly will cost, and what economic benefit Sumner County can realistically expect.

To the editor: Rep. Kelley needs to tell the whole story

Sumner Newscow letter to editor

To the editor: Rep. Kasha Kelley, on her Facebook page discussing educational funding, starts by citing Kansas Association of School Boards legislative testimony last spring and a KASB research publication.

Evidently, Rep. Kelley felt compelled to keep her answer short as compared to telling the whole story.

She notes the KASB statement, We have made it clear to our members and others state spending on schools is at a record high.” They then go on to say operating budgets “are shrinking” when inflation is factored in.

So the question she sidesteps is, “What good is a level of spending, record or not, when it doesn’t keep up with the costs of doing business?” Programs across the state have been and will continue to be cut under this model. Rep. Kelley is essentially saying schools, and their students, just need to make do with whatever the legislature appropriates regardless of whether it gets students to where they need to be or not.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The presidential candidates favorability question

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What best describes your feeling of the two Presidential candidates at this time?

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Sunday guest editorial: The trouble with ‘lesser of 2 evils” is one is still evil

Guest editorial generic

Donald Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Fort Worth

by Jason Janoski, Sumner County Republican Party Chairman — On Thursday, Donald Trump officially became the Republican nominee for President of the United States of America.  I reflect now on the future of the Republican Party and the future of our Republic.

Our party has been a noble one.  The Republican Party was founded in 1854 by an anti-slavery Whigs.  Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president.  Republicans led the charge to end slavery.  We resisted, though unsuccessfully, Franklin Roosevelt’s determination to quash individual and state rights and instead magnify the role of the federal government.  Republicans led the civil rights reforms of the 1950s and 1960s, enacting civil rights laws over Democrat objections. 

Jason Janoski

Jason Janoski

Republicans honor the Constitution and the Rule of Law.  We believe what the Declaration of Independence says – that God (not government) gives people inalienable natural rights and it is the purpose of government to preserve those rights.  By providence, our founding fathers wrote and ratified a Constitution which preserves those rights. 

We believe that the federal government may only exercise powers listed in the Constitution.  All other authority is reserved to the states and to the people.   

Because federal authority is enumerated, Republicans believe that the Constitution cannot prohibit states from protecting the lives of unborn babies.  We believe the Constitution cannot prohibit states from deciding that certain conduct or relationships are sexually immoral.  We believe that states are independent laboratories of justice and liberty, free to experiment according to the will of their people.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Cowley College in Wellington question

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What's your initial reaction to a 1/2 cent sales tax proposal to build a Cowley College Campus in Wellington?

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Letter to the editor: Voting for new leadership


To the editor:

The recent Sumner County Farm Bureau Political Forum held July 9 in Wellington and published in the Sumner County Newscow (see here) underscores the importance of the August 2 primary. The incumbents who spoke at the Raymond-Frye Complex clearly don’t understand that Kansas is being driven off a fiscal cliff. Instead, they think that current policies are fine, that there is plenty of revenue, and are roads are great.

They are living with head-in-the-sand syndrome. Sumner Newscow letter to editorBrownback’s tax policies are ruinous.

Brownback and his legions of Republican rubber-stampers thought they could spin tax cuts into gold. The 2012 tax cuts cut individual tax rates by 25 percent and went even further by eliminating taxes on businesses.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The race relations question

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Do you worry about race relations in the U.S.?

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Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The fireworks in Wellington question

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How long do you think fireworks should be legally shot in Wellington?

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Independence Day blog: Our 10 greatest Presidents according to Cueball

Five Cueball thoughts

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Happy Independence Day weekend everyone. Since I’m in a Patriotic mood and we are about to choose between Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dumb for President in six months, I thought I would take a look back at Presidents of years past.

So I’ve decided to release the official, “Cueball’s top 10 U.S. Presidents of All Time.”

I’ll count it down Casey Kasem style from 10 to No. 1. This is so exciting – kind of like shooting off fireworks.

10. Andrew Jackson.

Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson

I would have loved to have knocked Mr. Jackson off this list because he was a racist and a jerk. He removed the Indians from the south and put them in Oklahoma (should anyone have to live in Oklahoma?). He also kept the slave trade prospering.

But he dismantled the Bank of the United States that was riddled with corrupt rich fat cat bankers. He also held off South Carolina from seceding from the Union after the state was establishing higher tariffs than the U.S. on imported goods. South Carolina would eventually secede 25 years later, but not because of Jackson.

Jackson could be defined as the Rambo amongst Presidents. He didn’t take much guff from anyone.

9. Lyndon Johnson.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Kevin Durant question

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Do you think Kevin Durant will leave the Oklahoma City Thunder?

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Sumner Newscow poll: The afterlife question

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Do you believe in the afterlife?

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