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Category Archives: Commentary/Polls

Sunday blog: Wellington needs to change its narrative

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. For years, I have heard doom and gloom about Wellington, and as the saying goes, nothing much has changed. The complaints have not changed much either.

James Jordan

If you want change to happen you have to do something different. You can talk about the good old days all you want, but they are not coming back, and they may not have really been all that good. You can also gripe and moan about problems, but that has never solved anything either.

Wellington is not unique in its struggles. There are a lot of small towns in rural America with the same issues – health care, housing, employment – and they are usually the big issues. Wellington is not the most vibrant small rural town I have seen, but it is also far from the worst.

The city is working on a strategic plan and is seeking public input. One of the goals of the plan is to “change the narrative” about the city. You can access the survey and get more on the strategic plan here.

CultureCow: Without Arts and Humanities, a college is no longer a place of higher learning

By Devin McCue, Sumner Newscow —  Happy Friday. Over the past week, I had a sister graduate from college and within the next few months, I’ll have another sibling start his collegiate experience which calls for a time to reflect.  I earned my Bachelor’s degree in 2017 with a double-major in history and art history and the following year a Master’s degree in management, which means I got to see both sides of a decades-old ridiculous fight: the fight over what college is supposed to be “for.”

In undergrad, I heard over and over, “what are you going to do with that degree” and the answer I always had was “whatever I want.”  Because while a business degree ensures you can get any lower-tier job you want at a franchise somewhere, humanities degrees teach you much more valuable skills.

The reason I bring it up now is that schools like Missouri Western State University are taking hatchets to their budgets and the first thing to hit the cutting room floor was their entire humanities departments.  They cut 30 percent of their faculty, including the entire history, political science, sociology, economics, and music departments.  On the heels of that, Liberty University announced this week that they would no longer be offering philosophy as a major. 

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The social distancing question in late May question

 

 

 

 

 

Are you social distancing as much as you were a month ago?

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Sunday blog: Whether Summit should have or shouldn’t have been dumped, Monday’s vote was reckless

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — I have some mixed feelings on Monday about the Wellington school board’s dumping of the Summit program.

On one hand it was unfair, impractical, and basically threw the teachers and administrators under the bus.

On the other hand, the school board majority did exactly what it said it was going to do when first elected. I don’t necessarily believe the school board should be an extended branch of the administration.

My biggest beef with Monday’s vote is that this board didn’t present an adequate exit plan. “What next?” is a legitimate concern. I would have probably extended the program one more year until there was a secure alternative plan in place. Yes, if Summit was the evil purveyor of educational manipulation as its opponents say it is, we do have a group of students, sophomores and juniors, who have spent two years under its guise. I’m not sure another year would have been devastating until the school district came up with a specific plan especially since the students are finally used to it.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The how the pandemic has affected your life question

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — We asked this question on March 19 and have decided to ask it again two months later.

 

 

 

Has the coronavirus pandemic changed your life in a major way thus far?

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The results of the original poll can be found here

Sunday blog: Wellington Council had an easy chance to increase the city revenue base, it turned it down

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — There were a couple of interesting items at Tuesday’s Wellington City Council meeting.

Obviously, Via Christi’s interest in opening an emergency room at Sumner Regional Medical Center was great news. Getting an e.r. for the city is vital for long-term sustainability for the community.

That decision overshadowed the council’s decision to grant Sumner-Cowley Electric Co-op the franchise agreement to provide electrical services for the new Burlington Northern Santa Fe yard office to be built on U.S. 160, east of Meridian Street (see story here).

First of all congratulations to SCEC for aggressively going out and procuring the contract. SCEC CEO Coni Adams did an excellent job in her presentation on why the rural cooperative should be rewarded the franchise agreement. She is right that it is in the area the company has so adequately served throughout the years.

My concern, though, isn’t that SCEC was granted the contract, it is the slippery slope the Wellington City Council demonstrated in voting 4-2 to grant the franchise agreement to SCEC against the recommendation of the city staff and thus costing the city future revenue.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Governor Kelly reopening question

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is your opinion of Gov. Kelly's 4-phase reopening plan?

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Culturecow: Welcome to Month 3 of quarantine, here’s some good news to get you through it

Commentary by Devin McCue, Sumner Newscow — Happy Friday. And happy May 1, which marks two things:

1. It’s May Day, so maybe go watch Midsommar(?) and…

2. Workers across the country have organized a massive boycott of Amazon, Walmart, Whole Foods, InstaCart, and Target due to poor working conditions during the pandemic at a time where each of their companies are making record profits.

So celebrate the beginning of the new month by seizing the means of production and making your own dinner.

While most things during social distancing have been terrible, there is at least one bright spot: philanthropy.  And not even from the 1 percent (in fact, they’ve been doing extra-terrible lately), it’s from people of moderate means giving what they can to good causes.  And while there are better ways to do this, there have been two major efforts by musicians and former TV stars that have made a real impact.

Friday Sumner Newscow poll: The WHS graduation question

 

 

 

 

 

 

What best fits your opinion concerning the Wellington High School graduation July 12?

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Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The privacy issue as it relates to the pandemic quesion

Sumner Newscow report — We are going to ask a double question this week involving personal privacy and the ability to use surveillance equipment to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.

 

 

 

Would you be willing to give up some personal privacy to help authorities fight the coronavirus?

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Would you grant permission to a phone app to track your location and lower your insurance premiums as long as you are obeying the government lockdown?

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Sunday blog: As much as we may want to deny it, high school sports for next fall are in peril

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow  While doing these “what might have been” stories about the Wellington spring sports teams, I have an interesting tape recording from the March 9 Crusader Club meeting.

Crusader Club, as most of you should know, is the high school sports booster club that meets publicly on Mondays at Big Cheese Pizza to cuss-and-discuss the latest happenings in the Wellington sports world. It is well worth your time if you are interested in getting the inside scoop on WHS athletics – unless you are not interested in that kind of thing then you might want to skip it.

Anyway, I was recording the meeting as I always do because I have the attention span of a gnat. The winter season was over for Wellington and several spring coaches were previewing the upcoming season.

This week as I was listening to these tape recordings, I was fascinated that the subject of the coronavirus was never mentioned. This was on Monday. Coronavirus was most certainly on our minds, but there was no thought that the season these coaches were previewing, was not going to happen.

Three days later, everything changed.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The ending the stay-at-home order question

 

 

 

 

 

 

So is this the time to end the stay-at-home order and get back to normal?

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Sunday Blog: It is about faith, not the building

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — It is disappointing two Kansas churches are filing a federal lawsuit against Gov. Laura Kelly over an order banning religious gathering with more than 10 people to help slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

Their argument is it directly violates their religious and free-speech rights.

I keep thinking of an old expression “we have come this far.” We have spent more than a month implementing a strict shutdown in hopes of stopping a virus, top scientists and medical professionals are trying to figure out. To stop now is like quitting on the 25th mile of a marathon.

The reality is this virus is neither a Republican or a Democrat, a liberal or a conservative, or a Christian or an atheist. It just spreads a contagion without a known vaccine to treat, or enough medical supplies to protect us. Our best hope is social distancing. And churches, with its high percentage of elderly attending, should be at the top of the COVID-19 fighting list.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The asking the 3rd time about the Coronavirus question

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — This marks the third month in a row we have asked this very same question. We asked it the first time on Feb. 11 when the Coronavirus was definitely a topic of conversation but there was no way we could have envisioned what was going to happen in the months ahead. The second time we asked this question on March 11 it was right before the shutdown. In fact, it was only the next day when the NBA announced its shut down and the world started following suit. Today, it is April 14, and we are asking the same question again, gauging shifting attitudes among Sumner Newscow readers.

 

As of today, are you concerned about the Coronavirus?

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To see the Feb. 11 poll result, click here.

To see the March 11 poll results, click here.

Letter to the editor: The school district is here to help students through difficult times

Sumner Newscow report — The following is a letter to the editor written by Wellington High School Principal John Buckendorff and assistant principal Stephanie Smith.

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We hope this letter finds you safe and healthy during this unprecedented time. We understand that this is unfamiliar territory for everyone and definitely unusual circumstances that we are experiencing. We realize the impact that this has had on our community, both emotionally and academically.

We as a staff will continue to keep the best interest of you and your student in mind during this time. We want to thank everyone for being so patient and understanding as we go through this together and adjust as we need to.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The personal finance question

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you personally been hurt financially because of the Coronavirus pandemic??

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Sunday blog: The thing about these new forming habits, they may be hard to break later

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Habits are hard things to break – including new-forming ones.

A Wellington business owner once told me how much the late 1990s Washington Avenue downtown renovation project hurt his business.  He said during the year of construction when many of his customers couldn’t get to his store, they learned new habits. They started shopping elsewhere. When the street re-opened some of those customers didn’t return. 

That’s one of my biggest fears with the coronavirus pandemic. We are forming new stay-at-home habits. Who knows what this is going to do for the overall health of our economy?

Had this pandemic occurred 50, 20 or even 10 years ago, it would have meant a complete shutdown of our economy. The country would have been more decimated – at least in the short run. But in the long run? I’m not so sure. During yesteryear, had the pandemic ended, the economy would have gotten back on its feet and returned back to its previous normal because we would have had no other choice.

Today? I’m not so sure.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The toilet paper question

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you had a toilet paper crisis since the pandemic hit?

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Sunday blog: Our ability to fight a pandemic has never been better

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — I thought about this the other day (since we now have time to think). This pandemic has occurred at a pretty good time.

I’m not saying having a pandemic is a good thing. I’m saying if we were going to have a pandemic, today is as good of a time as any to have one. It’s kind of like diarrhea. I’d rather have it at home, than like on a cross-country trip in a station wagon.

At the top of the list is never in the history of the world have we lived in a time of such great medical knowledge. Our ability to diagnose the impending virus, to effectively quarantine a nation, and eventually find a vaccine has never been more prevalent. There are a lot of smart people in this world.

But there are other reasons why we are living in a time that can fight a pandemic.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The social distancing question

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you social distancing?

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