Category Archives: Commentary/Polls

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The favorite Wheat Festival photo contest question

Vote for your favorite.

What picture above best exemplifies the Wheat Festival?

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Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The college impact on society question







Do you think colleges and universities have an overall negative impact on this country?

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Sumner Newscow poll: The stop lights in downtown Wellington question







Do you think there are too many stop lights in downtown Wellington?

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Culture Cow: Could Calvin Harris be the next Bruno Mars with ‘Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1’

Commentary by Devin McCue, Sumner Newscow — Happy Monday.

Calvin Harris, the man who is just one Bruno Mars collaboration away from making a billion dollars, has crowned himself “King of Summer Jams” with his latest and greatest release, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1.

Harris has collected a motley of talented voices including big names such as Katy Perry, John Legend, Snoop Dogg, Young Thug, and several more. But the real stars of this album are the upcoming and extremely talented artists like Khalid, Kehlani, and Jessie Reyez.  For those of you who wonder why a DJ can make his own album and claim every song on it even though he doesn’t sing it’s because there is so much more to a song than just the voice.

Calvin Harris chooses his singers because of the musicality of their voice and manipulates those voices to mesh seamlessly with his hypnotic beats, creating an incredible set of songs and an album that deserves to be left on a loop for the rest of the summer.  King Calvin has revolutionized the EDM genre and taken it from an adrenaline-fueled beat-storm to the next evolution of pop music.


Netflix made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival (a truly boujee affair complete with independent films, yacht parties, and an award made out of gold and diamonds) with a visually stunning and emotional roller coaster called Okja

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The how much you spend on fireworks question







How much money do you spend on fireworks every year?

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Sunday blog: An adult-only concert night could be a good compromise at the Kansas Wheat Festival

These Wheat Festival goers were having a good time in 2016.

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Was the Wellington City Council wrong by not allowing a public consumption area for the Kansas Wheat Festival? (see story here)

I waver.

If I were a councilman, I might have moved to table the matter. Before passing any resolution, I would have liked to get the input of other communities, who have similar festivals and whether or not they have specific events with alcohol.

But the issue was timing. A plan was needed with the Kansas Wheat Festival looming in two weeks. Therefore, I probably would have let the motion die just like this week’s council. There is always next year.

My first job out of college was at a newspaper in a small German Lutheran town in western Nebraska. And if you know anything about German Lutherans, we aren’t exactly teetotalers. We can probably outdrink Catholics. Well, maybe not.

Letter to editor: A country that can send men to the moon, should be able to provide basic health care

by Dr. Larry Anderson, Special to Sumner Newscow — When Joel and I established our practice in Sumner County in 1976, we immediately realized that our health care system was poorly designed.   In 1991, as president of the KS Med Society, I was surprised by a Wichita TV lady anchor’s question:  “What is the easy answer to our health care problems?”  I was able to stifle a laugh and responded:   “There is no easy answer, and we have to realize that whether we are patients, doctors, hospital administrators, health care workers, the pharmaceutical industry, insurance companies, legislators, or professional liability attorneys, we all have to be a part of the solution.”

In a speech in Anaheim, Calif., in 1995, I stated that:

“A country that can send men to the moon and bring them safely home,  pay a baseball pitcher $12 million/yr, and guide a bomb from a screaming jet into a ventilator shaft can also provide basic health care for every citizen.”   

Please note “basic” and “every”.  The people who define “basic” should be the people who use those services (you folks), not those who provide the services (us folks).  The American capitalistic system will always allow a wealthy person to buy a legitimate service if he/she can afford it.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The comic strip question







What is your favorite comic strip of all time?

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Sunday blog: Ah, the joys of experiencing a Solstice on June 21

by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow — I leave on June 19th for my annual visit to see my children and grandchildren in England.  I’m making the trip a little later than normal this year, which means I will get to witness sunrise on midsummer’s day from England’s more northerly latitude. It is known as the Solstice.

Robert Escandon

For the past decade or so, I have made an effort to get my lazy body early out of bed to witness the sun rise on June 21 as I find something magical about the experience.  You have to be waiting about a half-hour before actual sunrise to see the eerie glow of pre-dawn when the sun hasn’t yet broken the horizon, but its light is refracted through Earth’s atmosphere.  The red light refracts the most and, since it is the complementary color to green, the grass and foliage takes on an intense hue.

The pre-dawn build-up seems slow and ponderous until the the sun breaks through.  The episode moves from peace and bliss until, quite suddenly, the tranquility is shattered by the sun’s intensity.

This year, I shall have to be ready at around 3 a.m. to catch the first light of pre-dawn.  Due to England’s northerly location, compared with Kansas, the sun will rise very early and it will still be light enough to see outside at 10:30 pm in the evening.  I might drive to the coast, which is about 20 miles from where I will be staying and where the beach faces due east.  Depends if I can raise myself from bed.

Sumner Newscow poll question: The shooting question







What is your initial reaction to today's shooting of a congressman during a baseball practice?

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Publisher note: The issues of a new server and the shrinking advertising dollar in Wellington

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — It has been quite a week.

If it weren’t for an unusual active week of Sumner County mayhem (a bomb threat at Sumner Regional Medical Center, really?), there were family obligations and a little visit from the technology demons.

Monday, we were hacked and both Sumner Newscow and in Winfield were down temporarily for a couple of hours. We were able to get back and running in no time, but we came to the realization, that we needed more protection. After all, I could write something about Donald Trump’s hair and one of you might get so upset you will send me a virus, crashing Sumner Newscow into oblivion.

Nothing was quite as unsettling as waking up one morning a couple years ago, and logging onto Sumner Newscow and seeing every story in French. That actually happened.

So we have been in the process of switching servers in hope of better security. The switch resulted in us having two sites for awhile. And, on Friday, our domain was bouncing from one server to the other. That is why you saw some stories missing, while at other times they were there.

Today, hopefully those issues are in the past.


Another issue I hope to see fade into the past is the whole CGI Video City of Wellington website controversy.

Sunday Blog: People are people no matter where you are

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow — The late 1980’s was a particularly busy time of life for me.  I worked for a company that was involved with nuclear engineering repair around the world.  Often, a specialized manipulator — a kind of robot — would have to be deployed inside the core of a nuclear power station.  These were one-off highly specialized installations and carried cameras and repair equipment down into the reactor core to do observation and, when necessary, repair work.

Robert Escandon

The company was contacted by the, then, Belorussian government who wanted a camera installation and inspection carried out inside one of their aging nuclear power station reactor cores.  This was shortly after “Glasnost” when the old Soviet Union had fallen apart and the satellite countries had to look after themselves.  I was excited to visit such an unlikely and previously closed place, deep inside what had been known as the USSR.   The last leg of the journey was an internal flight from Moscow, which was itself an interesting experience. “Flight Refreshment” was in the form of a cup of watered-down yoghurt served in a small Terracotta container.  It looked and tasted foul.

Eventually, we landed at the Capital, Minsk, and I was met by my interpreter, Sergey, — a smiling congenial guy, about forty years old.  He spoke word-perfect fluent English even though – he told me – I was the first native English speaking person he had ever met.  Over a week or so, it became obvious that, whatever were the many failings of the old USSR, education was not one of them!  People I met were well-educated, polite and quite sophisticated.

The next day, Sergey took me to the power plant just outside town.  The equipment inside looked ancient,  and the building itself had seen better days.  After a morning meeting, I had to telex my company to tell them that no business was possible.  This was because the Belorussian engineers had no money.  They didn’t understand that I expected them to pay for the future work and were shocked when the truth hit them.  Previously, anything they wanted had always been requested, through appropriate channels, to Moscow.  Turns out, they had never actually bought items or services privately before, so they assumed there must be some payment mechanism that only I knew about —- otherwise, why was I there talking to them?

Sunday Blog: The ramifications of Sumner County when the U.S. pulls out of the Paris Climate Agreement

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — When I write a blog, no matter how national it is, I try to figure out how it affects Sumner County, Kansas. It is hard to relate the Paris Climate Change Agreement to things that are going on here.

Tracy “Cueball” McCue

The natural inclination is outside the fear of global warming, which you may or may not believe, it has little affect on us here with a 67152 zip code. I think that notion is wrong.

I have spent many years being a global warming skeptic. But then I did something really strange the other day – I decided to read up on the subject. I went straight to the U.S. Government report. That’s some scary stuff.

I’m not here to sing the praises of Global Warming, nor provide a campaign against all things environmentally unsound. I still have an SUV and rarely recycle. I have never actually felt any warmer today than I did yesterday, except I’m fatter and tend to sweat more.

But, dang, if 98 percent of the Scientific community believe this is a serious problem and the possibility that it is man-made, then I’m apt to give their argument significant consideration. And if such rapid climate change has caused sea levels to rise, global temperatures to rise, oceans to warm, ice sheets to shrink, Arctic sea ice to decline, glaciers to retreat, extreme events like tornadoes in December to materialize, to create ocean acidification, and to make snow cover decrease, then, perhaps, we should pay a little bit attention to the scientific community.

And, I, for the life of me can’t figure out what is so wrong with a group of nations working together to solve a problem. It sure beats the heck out of blowing each other up.

Sunday Blog II: More thoughts on healthcare

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow —  One of my early articles compared healthcare with health insurance.  I was prompted to compare of our insurance-based model compared with “central-payer” government-run systems in other developed and wealthy countries.

Robert Escandon

Given that I was seen as promoting a socialized system, some readers got bent-out-of-shape including “get back to your own country, leave us alone” and other unpleasant replies.

Just lately, one responder asked the question “Where in the Constitution does it say that the government should be involved with healthcare?”  I was baffled by such a response probably because I am culture-bound to a society where healthcare for all (rich and poor alike) is indeed a government priority.

For suggestions, I contacted an old friend of mine, Greg, who has just recently retired from a Directorship with The National Science Foundation in D.C.  He has lived and worked in different countries — including Britain, Australia and here in the U.S. — and is a scientist whose speciality is Bio-Chemistry. So I asked him the very question:“Where in the Constitution does it say that government should be involved with healthcare?”

For a second opinion, he asked his son to weigh-in with some thoughts. His son Damien is a lawyer by training.  With their permissions, I copy our correspondence.

Greg speaking

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Paris Climate Accord question







Do you think President Trump withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord is a good thing?

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Sunday blog: The importance of public service

Long hours, little pay, public retribution are all part of the “benefits” of serving on a municipal/school board. Still in the end, it’s worth it. 

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Public service is hard.

I try to stay away from hyperbole words like “all, most, hardest, worst…” However, I would venture to say over the past two years, this particular Wellington City Council has been through the ringer – more than the average board.

First, they had the task of initiating City Manager Roy Eckert, a person this particular council didn’t hire. There is always a time of transition for city managers regardless who is in charge. Fourteen months later, this council had to fire Mr. Eckert. Then they had to go through the process of hiring another city manager Shane Shields. It was at time of incredible city leadership instability.

Then they were informed that the utility reserve fund was depleted and they had the horrible task of having to raise utility rates and taxes. That was as popular as a turd on the doorsteps of a church on Easter Sunday. It didn’t seem to matter that the council was making up for decisions made by people no longer part of the City of Wellington.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The time you get out of bed question







What time do you normally wake up in the morning?

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Sunday blog: What does the future hold for our graduates? We don’t really know

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow — I have had the privilege of being a math teacher at Wellington High School since 2011 and have taught students across the curriculum from Algebra 1 to Calculus.  Two years ago, I retired from the District and was accepted by Cowley College to teach College Algebra and College Statistics as an Adjunct Lecturer — based at Wellington High School.

Robert Escandon

This is a reduced workload since I teach only a few periods a day to (mostly) seniors.  So, at age 68, I am semiretired.  Having said that, I discovered there are now nearly 50 students already signed up for College Algebra (for the Fall semester) and around 44 signed up for College Statistics (for the Spring semester).  These are numbers we have not seen before —- so it looks like I will still be busy in my semi-retirement!

It seems like yesterday when I too was 18 and full of anticipation for my impending adult life.  Older men gave me their advice which, being young, I accepted selectively!  Now life has reversed and I am the “old-guy” looking at our young men and women about to embark on their own adventures in life.  Interestingly, I am now irresistibly drawn to providing advice, just like the “old-guys” of my youth were presumably drawn to sharing their life’s experiences with me!

I have been very lucky in my life to have experienced more than I could possibly have imagined when I was young.  Not all of those experiences were good and some were very bad, but they were, nonetheless, experiences to live through and to be modified by them.   Here’s my life, in bullet-points:

Letter to the editor: Two visions for SRMC

Commentary by Larry Hooker, Wellington, Kansas — This an open letter to the leaders and the great citizens of Wellington and Sumner County:

My name is Larry Hooker.  I was the Controller at Sumner Regional Medical Center for the past 19 months. I want to share with each of you some of my thoughts, and feelings, about the opportunities that lie ahead for SRMC.

Basically there are two visions we, as a community, could have for SRMC.

First, there is the one that has been circulating as a rumor … “SRMC is going to close” and approximately 120 people would lose their livelihoods.

Second, there is the one that the City of Wellington HCA Board and the current Senior Leadership team and all the other great SRMC associates believe in, and that is, “our greatest days are ahead.”  But this great team needs your help, every one of you can help SRMC succeed and have its best days ever.  That is the purpose of my letter … I want to enlist your support for the second vision: A great future for SRMC.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The gun shop question

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow —  We received an e-mail from a Wellington resident who said he is working for an entrepreneur. He was wanting to do some market research using our marketing data.

He states:

“I was working for him and he has really made me see how great it is to start a business from the ground up. I have been doing some research on opening a gun shop in Wellington and am currently doing some market research. It appears the closest shop would be in Winfield so this could be good for Sumner County. I am still a minimum of a year out on this and before I go through the very long and in depth process, I was hoping you could put a poll up to gauge interest on your site. Just a simple would you patronize a local gun shop or something simple like that.” 

Here you go…

Would you personally support a gun shop in Sumner County?

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