Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Five Cueball thoughts for August 22, 2015…
1. Hernandez leaving…
Leonard Hernandez, CEO of Sumner Regional Medical Center, submitted his resignation Friday to take a similar position at Burlington.
While there is most certainly a reason to hit the panic button, this single event should not be defined as an ‘apocalypse is upon us’ defining moment.
Hernandez’ fate here in Wellington came a couple weeks ago when the Sumner County Medical Center board hired the consulting firm, Community Hospital Corporation, financed through the privately funded SRMC Endowment Foundation.
That firm will be doing an extensive assessment report of all operations at SRMC and bring its recommendations back to the board in a few months.
Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Five Cueball thoughts for August 9, 2015…
It’s hard to fathom a sadder story than the death of a 9-year-old batboy in Wichita last weekend at the National Baseball Congress World Series. It’s one that has bothered me greatly, because the batboy and the ball boys at football games have been such an integral part of game.
My personal favorite ball boys of all time were Tyson Rayl and Brandon Wilmoth, who retrieved balls those great Wellington Crusader football teams in the early 1990s. To this day, when I look at Brandon, I can’t help but see him as a 10-year-old on the sidelines ready to make the important football exchange. His performance was so legendary as a ballboy, he got a phone call from New England Patriot Quarterback Tom Brady, a couple of years back to take care of the footballs. I made that last sentence up.
As we grapple with the tragedy at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, let’s eventually put this in perspective. It was a freak accident. I have never heard it happening before. Bat and football boys have been part of the game for an eternity. They humanize a game that can sometimes get way too seriously. And you never know what kind of lasting effect it has on a kid.
For Brandon, he would be come a player for the Crusaders which made a long run into the playoffs and set up the state championship years ahead. Wilmoth would return four years later as a middle school football coach. He is now a game official retrieving balls from other ball boys. For me, Brandon’s growth from ball boy to coach to official marks my own aging process and why I love living in a small town. Again, it’s one of those life experiences that is so good in so many ways.
by Al Melichar, Sumner County citizen — July 4, 1939 in Yankee stadium, an honored ball player walked forward to say a few words. That has been said to be the greatest speech in baseball history. Lou Gehrig said to a crowd of well-wishers, ”I considered myself to be the luckiest man on the face of this earth” It was the sentence before that historical quote that I beam with joy today. “When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed, you are truly bless. Those two quotes reflect my sentiments of my lovely wife, Turi.
Any couple, who faces a medical crisis, knows, without a doubt that their faith, their love for each other and marriage vows will be tested. Ours has been no exception. These past six years, after being diagnosed as having Alzheimer’s in our family, have been, no doubt the biggest challenge in our lives. Yes, I have kept the promise vows, I repeated to Turi, over 47 years ago, cherish and love in sickness and in health. Yet, the promise kept, that I want to share to you is greater than our wedding vows.
In the Book of Hebrews, God says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. This is the verse we needed when we heard, ” Turi, you have Alzheimer’s”. By faith alone, we had to believe that verse, to hold true, if we were going continue a happy life together.
Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — You know why the U.S. of A is the greatest country in the world? Because we just are.
Last week, my son and I took a trip to Canada to watch Wellington High School senior Ryleigh Buck play for the U.S. Women’s Baseball team and sight see. One of our destinations was Niagara Falls. If you are going to visit Niagara Falls, figure out a way to get over to the Canadian side because the view is so much more spectacular and there are a lot more things to do.
While there, we ended up eating at a TGIF at a casino. I ordered a steak, a beer and an appetizer. Quinn ordered whatever gross thing Quinn likes to eat. When we got the bill, I about fell out of my chair. It was $77 Canadian dollars which equates into about $60 in U.S. currency. That wouldn’t fly in Wellington.
But then I looked at the taxation thereafter. The tax was 19 percent! We hadn’t included a tip yet. I asked the waiter to come over and look at the bill to see if it was right.
“Oh, yes,” he said. “We here in Canada take it in the shorts. We have a lot of things to pay for up here including free healthcare.”
Pay for something that is free. I like it.
Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Chicken Little seems to have moved to Wellington.
Now the sky is falling. People are moving away. Utility rates will be raised to such high proportions that we may never have electricity again. The city is going bankrupt. The hospital is about to close. The water tower is about to fall smack dab on the roundabout at any second.
But while we are in this utter state of panic, let’s just contemplate these few facts:
The world is 4.5 billion years. The United States is 239 years. Wellington is 144 years olds…
Wellington has survived a tornado, a few industrial shutdowns, the Great Depression, two World Wars, a few floods, fires, a poor decision not to get a community college, and a horse mishap in a Wheat Festival Parade.
We can survive this… whatever “this” is.
People, I am exhausted.
With the Fourth of July holiday ending this week, we ask ourselves this important question…
Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Five Cueball thoughts for July 5, 2015…
1. A rant to not rant…
The other day someone called around 9 a.m. and yelled at me about the Medallion Hunt clue not being on the Newscow site. I tried to explain to her that we have the new clue up temporarily from 6:30 to 7 a.m. for the early bird hunters. It is then taken down temporarily, before going back up permanently at 10 a.m. She did not care. She wanted it on right now and hung up.
Dang, people. The Kansas Wheat Festival hasn’t even begun and we are already cranky.
There is no doubt people are angrier these days — not just Wellington but everywhere.
So I’m here to provide a community service and give everyone a little pre-Wheat Festival pep talk. You have to do just two things this year at the Wheat Festival:
Commentary by Ed Trimmer, State Representative 79th District — On Sunday, June 7, I was faced with a dilemma. My wife and I had been planning to leave on a trip to Europe on June 10. It was a group trip through “Education First” that included nine adults and eight students from the Winfield area.
We had been planning this trip for over 14 months. Our payments were non-refundable. The problem I had was that the Kansas Legislature was still in session, the longest session ever, and had only one task left; to pay for a budget that was $408 million in the red, a budget for which I did not vote.
When the Governor announced he would veto any bill that taxed businesses, which currently pay no income tax, I knew the only alternative for the legislature was to raise sales taxes on working people, raise property taxes, and/or cut income tax deductions.
At that point I knew my vote would be NO on any tax plan. Since an absence essentially counts as a NO vote, I decided to go on the trip. With that decision made, I contacted the House Minority Leader’s Office, Legislative Administrative Services, and spoke to a number of my colleagues both Democrat and Republican. I made sure I would not be paid for the time I missed.
Commentary by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — I remember the flag controversy in South Carolina in 1995. There was a strong debate about taking the Confederate Flag off the top of the statehouse. The flag had been put up there in the 1960s as part of a celebration of some kind. There were people who wanted it to come down because it had become a symbol of racism, while others wanted it to stay as a symbol of heritage.
By that time I had lived in Columbia, S.C. a couple of years, and to that point had never noticed the flag up there. It was rather small and up very high, so unless you were looking for it, you would not notice it in most cases. But it did become a point of contention.
The thing I remember most is the debate itself. For the most part people made their arguments, and eventually a compromise of moving it to the statehouse grounds was reached.
by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — In an age where newspapers are shrinking and folding, Sumner Newscow continues to expand and flourish.
This month, Sumner Newscow is bringing on two more writing correspondents and an advertising representative to the staff. Our goal is to bring you the reader more local news while helping Sumner County businesses market its products to consumers in the digital age.
We are also looking forward to implementing new programs and options in the future as the site continues to grow.
Pam Strader of Wellington has joined Bobby Wilson as part of the Sumner Newscow advertising sales team.
Strader is recently retired after over 34 years of employment with The Boeing Company in Wichita; Everett, Wash.; Renton, Wash.; and Houston, Texas. She completed her Boeing career on the Joint Boeing NASA International Space Station Program. While employed at Boeing, she worked in the Engineering Department performing tasks such as transfer documents development, Engineering Data Work Statements, Drawing Quality Assurance, Organization Audit Team and Engineering Release.
She will join Bobby Wilson, who has been an advertising representative for Sumner Newscow since its inception in 2011. Wilson currently is a full-time detective on the Wellington Police force. He has been an instrumental civic leader, most recently serving as officer of the Wellington and Sumner County DARE Program, including eight memorable DARE graduations at the Wellington High School.
On the news side, James Jordan has left the Wellington Daily News to become a correspondent for Sumner Newscow. He is a native of east Tennessee, and has worked in Arkansas as a sports writer before moving to South Carolina in 1989 where he worked on Hilton Head Island as a sports editor, and then Columbia as a news editor. He moved to Kansas in 2002, where he was a news editor at the Ark City Traveler. The past four years he has worked for Gatehouse Publishing in Newton; Ardmore, Okla.; and the past two years at the Wellington Daily News.
He received a Masters Degree in Christian Education in 1995.Jordan will be writing Wellington City Council stories and working with news features.
Amber (Countryman) Schmitz will be our second correspondent and will be writing feature and covering community events for Sumner Newscow.
Schmitz graduated from Caldwell High School in 1996. She earned her Associate of Arts degree in journalism from Cowley County Community College in 1998. In the past, she worked as a news reporter and ad designer for the Anthony Republican, and also was lifestyles editor, office assistant and a stringer for the Wellington Daily News.
She also works as a server at Rocco’s Little Italy.
In the coming months, Sumner Newscow will be introducing a restaurant guide on Tuesday mornings.
Commentary by Bobby Wilson, Sumner Newscow — The KGA Junior Amateur, Who really won.
This past week the Wellington Golf Club hosted the Kansas Golf Association Boys Junior Amateur. What a week it was. Wellington Golf Club looked like a high priced car all dolled up and ready to be driven to the ball.
The fairways were cut, the rough stood tall and the greens shined with anticipation of what could be. The Wellington Golf Club Staff ran by Golf Director Derek Harrison made this tournament all it could be. The entire staff spent hours preparing for the largest golf tournament to hit Wellington in years. They did not disappoint.
New water coolers were donated and put up across the course. The newly donated range markers were also on display. The course was a beauty.
Opening day came and Steve Gill was on the first tee. He won this tournament 45 years ago. There he was greeting the players and calling out their names and where they were from on the first tee. It reminded me of 35 years ago playing in this same tournament.
Guest editorial by J.P. Buellesfeld — On April 6,1999, Jim Chisham was elected to a two-year term as Mayor of City of Wellington.Mr. Chisham then immediately resigned from his current position as a City Council Third Ward representative and the two year term that ended on April 18, 2000.
Also on April 6, 1999, Larry Shimer defeated Mitchell McComb by only 2 votes for a Third Ward Position on the City Council. Mr. McComb requested that he be appointed to the City Council to serve out the last year of the term that was open due to Mayor Chisham’s resignation. Mr. McComb felt that since many citizens of Third Ward had voted for him only days before he was the best choice.
On April 20, 1999, the City Council appointed Nel Holmes to the open City Council position. Nel Holmes had never ran for an elected office in her lifetime.
Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Five Cueball thoughts for June 14, 2015…
1. Minority rules…
Thursday was quite a night. The Kansas State Legislature took the bait of Kansas Blackmailing Governor Alfred E. Brownback and passed the largest tax package in history. The House, which included the blessing of Sumner County representatives Kasha Kelley and Kyle Hoffman, passed the tax plan at 4 a.m. Friday. The Senate, with the blessing of Sumner County Senator Steve Abrams, passed the bill 12 hours later.
The bill now sits on Brownback’s desk for signature. He had threatened if the legislature didn’t get something passed by Monday, he was going to make a 6.2 percent across-the-board tax cut. Through it all, Brownback said taking out the 2012 net income tax exemption which got the State of Kansas in the current mess, was off the table.
Before the tax plan was passed, Wellington Superintendent Rick Weiss speculated Thursday that USD 353 could be making $700,000 in cuts in its block grant for 2015-16 if Brownback’s threat materialized. Where does the school district trim the fat?