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Category Archives: Commentary/Polls

Sunday blog: Talking Wheat Festival whining, Logan Mize, gay marriage, cray Kansas…

Five Cueball thoughts

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Five Cueball thoughts for July 5, 2015…

1. A rant to not rant…

Wheat Festival crybaby

“I didn’t win this #$@*$ baby contest, mommy!

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:

Ed Trimmer: My end of session dilemma

Guest editorial generic

 

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.

Ed Trimmer

Ed Trimmer

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.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Confederate Flag question

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Should government entities in the south be allowed to fly the Confederate Flag?

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Sunday Blog: Is the Confederate Flag controversy really about racism?

James Jordan commentary

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.

James Jordan

James Jordan

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.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The on-demand streaming question

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How much on-demand streaming from places like Netflix and Hulu do you view these days?

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Sumner Newscow brings 3 new people on board as website continues to grow

Note from the publisher

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

Pam Strader

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.

Bobby Wilson

Bobby Wilson

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.

James Jordan

James Jordan

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

Amber (Countryman) Schmitz

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.

The 2015 Kansas Golf Association Junior Amateur… who really won?

Guest editorial generic

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.  

Bobby Wilson

Bobby Wilson

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.

City of Wellington needs to review its at large appointment policy

Guest editorial generic

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.

J.P. Buellesfeld

J.P. Buellesfeld

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.

Sunday blog: Talking legislature, school board legacy, and more…

Five Cueball thoughts

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Five Cueball thoughts for June 14, 2015…

1. Minority rules…

Alfred E. Brownback

Alfred E. Brownback

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?

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Wellington City Council vacancy question

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When filling a council vacancy seat, should the Wellington City Council members...

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Sunday blog: Tuesday’s city council appointment was a mixed bag

Sumner Newscow editorial

Commentary by Tracy McCue — Tuesday, the Wellington City Council found itself in a no-win situation when it chose a replacement for B.J. Tracy, who resigned from the board last month. The council was split, and ultimately the majority chose Bill Butts to represent Wellington in the vacant seat until the spring or fall of 2017 depending when the Kansas Legislature mandates the next municipal election.

Cindy Antonich

Cindy Antonich

The debate centered on whether or not to choose in a field of seven applicants candidate Cindy Antonich who received the fourth largest vote total — and highest number of those candidates not elected — in the previous April election. Instead, three of the council members: Kelly Green, Vince Wetta and Kip Etter ultimately went with Butts, who they felt was the best candidate to represent Wellington. Butts did not run for office in 2015.

Bill Butts

Bill Butts

As city law is written, those council members did nothing wrong. They did what they were asked to do under the bylaws of city policy. They also did not do anything unusual.

On national, state and county levels where there are partisan politics, when elected officials resign or retire in midstream they are replaced by members of their own party. If it’s a Republican official, nobody thinks twice when appointing another Republican. For example, when U.S. Senator Bob Dole resigned to run for U.S. President in 1996, fellow Republican Sheila Frahm replaced him.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Bruce/Caitlin Jenner story

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What is your opinion of the Bruce (Caitlin) Jenner transgender story?

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Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The SRMC becoming a municipal hospital question

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Do you feel Sumner Regional Medical Center should officially become a municipal hospital?

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Five Quinn’s thoughts for May 24, 2015

Quinn McCue

Quinn McCue

By Quinn McCue, Sumner Newscow — Five Quinn’s thoughts for May 24, 2015…

1. Schools out! Personally I thought it would be more exiting. Then I realized I have literally nothing planned for the entire summer.

2.My eyes burn.

Sunday blog: Perhaps it’s time to officially make SRMC a municipal hospital

Sumner Newscow editorial

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Can anyone tell me the difference between the Sumner Regional Medical Center and, say, the Wellington Fire and Police Departments?

Yeah, yeah. I know the fire department is there to put out fires and deliver sick people. The police department is in charge of throwing bad guys in jail. The hospital is there to fix our boo-boos and keep us from dying.

But essentially, all three institutions do the same thing— provide a community service unlike any other city department whether its utilities, the park department, etc.

So why not make SRMC a municipal hospital and stop this us vs. them mentality?

At Tuesday’s Wellington City Council meeting, SRMC was getting hammered over not paying for city utilities. In a nutshell, it was one government institution hammering another governmental institution about the amount of taxpayers money they were not receiving from the other.(see story here). It is obvious this system of billing SRMC for utilities isn’t working.

Utility non-payments are nothing new for SRMC. I remember writing a Wellington Daily News article in the late 1990s or early 2000s when the hospital was not even 10 years old, about the city abating utilities for the hospital. As outlined by Wellington City Clerk Shane Shields Tuesday, SRMC has had utility abatements for 27 of the last 60 months and hasn’t made a payment since Oct. 2013.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Click it or Ticket question

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What's your opinion of the Wellington Police Department's "Click it or Ticket" program?

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Sunday Blog: Talking WHA, Tracy resignation, Valedictorians, new football format and Deflategate

Five Cueball thoughts

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Five Cueball thoughts for May 17, 2015…

1. Not quite yet

Wheat Capital ManorThe Wellington Housing Authority board made significant steps May 7 when it called in independent auditor Cynthia Warren for a special meeting to issue a report in hopes of resolving the six-month controversy at Wheat Capital Manor. What was significant about the meeting is it brought some perimeters to the controversy, and provided the general public, including myself, some clue to what the fuss has been all about.

WHA administrator and Manor overseer Melissa Hamlin was absolved of all wrong doing except for not withdrawing $6,755 in 2014 from her and another employee’s paycheck to cover their spouses in the company healthcare plan (see story here).

The question the board must answer is whether there was malice.

Melissa Hamlin

Melissa Hamlin

Did Hamlin intentionally not withdraw money in defiance to the board’s instructions, or was this simply a misunderstanding and/or an accounting error? Considering the turmoil of the past six months within the board and who knows how much longer before, it might be a question too difficult to resolve. Perhaps, the best thing to do is make a plan for the two employees to repay the money, enact new policy and move on.

While it appears closure to this overblown controversy is nearing, two things still bother me. 

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Tom Brady suspension question

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The NFL recently handed down a four-game suspension of New England Quarterback Tom Brady, plus the Patriots lose a first round draft pick in 2016 and a fourth round draft pick in 2017 for the particulars in “Deflategate.” What is your opinion of the punishment?

 

What do you think of Brady's punishment.

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Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The state budget dealing question

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What would be your preference for filling the Kansas state budget deficit?

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Sunday blog: Talking riots, electricity outage, your special day and Quinn

Five Cueball thoughts

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Five thoughts by Cueball and Quinn for May 3, 2015…

1. Baltimore riots…

City police riots are hardly anything new. I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have them. The Rodney King Los Angeles riots in 1992 were particularly disturbing.

A man stands in front of a line of police officer in riot gear last week in Baltimore. (AP News photo).

A man stands in front of a line of police officer in riot gear last week in Baltimore. (AP News photo).

I was way too young to remember the civil rights riots of the 1960s.

Maybe I’m becoming more cynical these days, but today’s riots seem a bit more manufactured than the riots of years past. You wonder for some if it is an excuse for people to loot, and are tailor-made spectacles for cable TV news networks like CNN and Fox News, eager for a night of high ratings.

Obviously, I am neither African-American nor live in the inner-city so I don’t understand what it is to live in poverty or to be discriminated against based on the color of my skin.

But burning down a city doesn’t seem like a solution. And I also fail to understand how neutering a police force helps overcome whatever it is people need to overcome.

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