Category Archives: Commentary/Polls

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Saturday night question







What's your idea of a great Saturday night?

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Sunday blog: The psychology of challenging our mindset

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow — Since I started writing columns for Newscow, I have been amazed by some of the reader-responses.  Whereas, I expected disagreement with some of my thoughts, I have been truly surprised by the vehemence of some responses.  It’s not that some responses have been rude, (I have enough self-confidence to handle that) it’s that they are actually “angry” at some of the views or thoughts I might have expressed.

Robert Escandon

The whole point of our press is that it is free to express opinions.  Okay, some of my views will not be shared by everyone (no surprise there).  On occasions, when a responder is expressing very strong levels of emotion, I have suggested they write their own counter-article and offer it to Newscow — unless Tracy is hiding things from me (which I doubt) then no reader has yet taken up that offer.

Some have advised that I “take my leftist views with me and get the hell outta Dodge.” Interestingly, I have always thought of myself as a centrist and am generally wary of political views which are towards the extremes (left or right).  Having lived for 68 years, I see that most problems exist in gray areas, where, at least some, compromise may be sought.  There can be no compromises with extreme points of view.

So, I have been trying to rationalize why some readers might get angry with my written words as opposed to simply offering points of disagreement.  After all, I am not angry when writing a column. I am simply offering some thoughts and opinions for my words to convey.  I happen to like writing and find it quite therapeutic — kind of “clears my brain” of thoughts that roll around inside my head. 

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The automated trash system question







From what you read so far, would you like the city of Wellington to switch to an automated trash service?

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Sunday blog: In today’s corporate world, the ideal number of employees are no employees at all

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow — There is no question that the application of robotics and artificial intelligence continues to accelerate.  There are few areas of commerce and industry where one or both cannot be used to great advantage.  Robots are excellent for precision rote tasks. 

Robert Escandon

They don’t get tired or ill and carry no overhead except depreciation.  Their precision of operation doesn’t drift due to fatigue or boredom so the product output maintains a set level of accuracy that fits within boundaries set by quality control management.

Many repetitive manufacturing tasks were the province of workers “on-the-line.”  My mother was one of those many thousands of — mostly women — who worked in factories.  I asked her once if the work was sole-destroying in its repetition? 

To my surprise she said “No, because it carried no stress.” She knew exactly what was expected of her and it gave her a wage she could add to my father’s earnings to help keep the family afloat.  The factories provided a nice restaurant for lunch, and evening meals for those on a later shift.  Music was piped in from the local radio stations and there was a feeling of team spirit among the employees.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The post-election 4th District Congressional race question







Estes won the open 4th District seat Tuesday. How did you vote? (Only vote if you live in Sumner County)

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Sunday blog: Hoffman/Alley failed to listen to the pleas of their hospitals

While Hoffman/Alley seem to be married to Brownback’s policies, the survival of institutions like Sumner Regional Medical Center remain in doubt. (Click on photo for larger version)

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Kansas House of Representatives failure to override Governor Sam Brownback’s veto of the expansion of Medicaid is a slap in the face to the Kansas rural healthcare industry and the patients within.

Tracy “Cueball” McCue

What makes it worse, State Representative Kyle Hoffman (R- Coldwater), who represents the western half of Wellington and northwest Sumner County and thousands of patients who patronize Sumner Regional Medical Center and Sumner County Hospital in Caldwell, voted against the override.

There is little doubt, judging from his negative vote during the initial passage of the bill, State Senator Larry Alley would have followed Hoffman’s lead, had the override vote gotten to the Senate.

Not by coincidence, SRMC board announced it will be laying off employees just three days later.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The check your e-mail question







How many times do you check your e-mail?

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Guest editorial: KanCare expansion will help the state budget

The following is a guest editorial written by Dave Kerr, a former state senate President and Sheldon Weisgrau, Director of Health Reform Resource Project.

It’s not often that a legislative body has an opportunity to make good policy, provide needed services to tens of thousands of state residents, and positively impact the state budget.  But that is exactly the opportunity the Kansas Legislature now has before it.

Governor Brownback recently vetoed a bill to expand KanCare, the Kansas Medicaid program.  By overriding this veto, the Legislature can make health coverage available to more than 150,000 low-income Kansans and bring more than $70 million to the state budget, helping to fill a budget deficit that has plagued the state for the past several years.

In his veto message, the governor pointed out the cost of expanding KanCare.  Services to newly covered beneficiaries will total about $81 million in state fiscal year (FY) 2019, the first full year of the expansion. 

Letter to the editor: What people across the Pond think of Trump

Editor’s note — The following is a letter to the editor written by Helen Murray, the daughter of Sumner Newscow columnist Robert Escandon.

To the editor: Here is a perspective from across the pond.

My father, Robert Escandon, recently wrote a column expressing his views on both Clinton and Trump and discussed the possibility that Trump was displaying the traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Having carefully read through the replies and comments to the post it appears he has garnered some strong opinions, especially from the Pro-Trump faction who have accused him of a rather left wing bias.

One local commenter on the post asked the question “I wonder what outsiders thought of our two presidential candidates?”

As an “outsider” I thought I would answer this, if I may?

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Global Warming question







Do you worry about global warming?

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Sunday blog: How words can change the meaning of the truth

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow —  We live in an age when we are drowning in data.  Increasingly, that data might find itself woven into clever terminology which deliberately, or accidentally, causes us to arrive at false conclusions.  Most of us like to think that we are rational, logical people, whereas much of our perceptions of the world, and our fellow human beings, are due to preferences of interpretation.

Robert Escandon

We all need to be alert to the ever-present pitfalls and trip-ups that confound clear thinking and clear analysis of our thought processes.  In an increasingly complex and linked world, information,  we absorb and give-out, should not be loose in tone.  Expressions like’  “I think that ……” or “My opinion on the matter is ……..” should not be voiced without some analysis of why you hold a view or why you have sound evidence to support your opinion.

A few trivial examples maybe useful as illustrations.

In his 2016 address to the nation, President Obama said “The rate of unemployment is slowing.”  That has to be a good thing, does it not?  What was your take-away from that short sentence?

Umberto Mendia: The passing of Dave Stallworh had an impact in Wellington as well

To the editor: I might have missed if you had an article in your publication regarding the recent passing of Dave Stallworth.

As a kid, I remember listening to the radio at home to the Wichita State games back in 1964-65 when Dave was on the team and when the team went to the finals of the NCAA tournament that year.  I remember that during that time Wichita State was rated the No. 1 team in the nation.

Just after he finished playing with WSU, Dave came to Wellington with a team and played a game at the Memorial Auditorium.  Can’t remember the team he was playing with or the team they played against.  They were charging to get into the game and the place was packed with fans. I didn’t have the money for admission, but I must have waited around at the entrance long enough that the doorman finally let me in, I think after halftime. 

Sumner Newscow Letter to Editor, Guest Editorial policy

Sumner Newscow strongly encourages signed guest editorials and letters to the editors which have been traditional staples of the printed newspapers.

Letters to the editor and Guest Editorials will be treated prominently as regular news blogs, and with little editing only for basic clarity, grammar and syntax.  We will feature editorials and letters on Sundays. Sumner Newscow will not discriminate based on political leanings.

Contact us here at 620-326-0717 or e-mail us at if you so choose to have one published. The comment section will not be pulled for either guest editorials or letters to the editor. Thank you notes and cleverly disguised political candidate advertisements are not considered legitimate editorials.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The how is Donald Trump doing so far question







In the first two months, do you think Donald Trump has done a good job as President?

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Sunday Blog: Wellington needs to look at Myrtle Beach, S.C. in the 1950s

Commentary by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — Back in the 1950s the city of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina was giving away beach front lots. All you had to do was build something within five years. Automobile travel was common by then, and air conditioning was catching on. 

James Jordan

Air conditioning made the hot coastal areas appealing for tourists. They were ready to take advantage of a tourism boom. A lot of people scoffed at those lots, or just never got around to getting one. Other people took the city up on it, and became very rich. Those free lots now have high rise hotels, are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and are probably not for sale.

There are other coastal towns along the east coast that never really took off. They were not visionaries, or they had some excuse for why they thought it wouldn’t work there. In both cases they were right.

When opportunity comes calling, you have those that answer the door, and you have those that do not, for whatever reason.

Wellington may very well have that type of opportunity now. We all know technology is huge, and that it will continue developing. There’s no telling what will be developed eventually.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Republican healthcare proposal question







From what you have heard so far on the Republican healthcare proposal, what do you think should be done?

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Sunday Blog: England looks at U.S. like a proud father looks at his successful son

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow — As most readers are aware,  I have lived and worked both in England and here in the U.S.;  this being 12 years in Kansas and five years in Michigan during the 1980s.  Living and working in the U.S. has been a privilege and given me an opportunity to view the cultures of both countries.  I am often asked “which country do you prefer?”  My answer is that I miss the things of America when I visit England and, equally, I miss some of the things of my home country when here in the U.S.

Robert Escandon

In Europe as a whole, it is a good thing to be American!  You are most likely to be greeted with genuine friendship and affection.  Speaking personally, I have been similarly greeted here in the U.S.  There is definitely a feeling — almost — of two nations and one country.  By example, after 911 Britain held a one minute silence across the whole country.

All traffic stopped on the major motorways, people came out of their homes and workplaces for a time of respect and condolence for America’s loss.  I clearly remember standing in a circle with around 40 other people, who had emerged from their businesses to pay our own silent respect.  It was eerily silent, because the whole country had brought itself to a standstill.  It was very moving.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The your financial state question







Are you pleased with your current financial state?

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Sunday blog (on Monday): Kansas and the grand supply-side experiment

Editor’s note: Our Sunday blog is a little late this week because of the extensive sub-state basketball coverage. Robert Escandon is a weekly columnist for Sumner Newscow and a former math teacher at Wellington High School. He has lived in both Britain and the United States and considers both countries his home. 

Robert Escandon

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow — Once a year, money permitting, I make a trip to England to see my children and grandchildren.  While there, I make a point of looking at the written and TV news coverage, of current events, and note the differences in style and content compared with the equivalent U.S. news coverage.

Mostly, the news coverage is not very different in content, except that the English TV news anchors aren’t as glamorous as their American cousins.  The BBC (in particular) also refers to them as “news readers” to emphasize that they read or deliver the news, without expressing personal or channel bias.

On returning to the U.S., and again watching CNN, Fox or one of the other channels, the news presentations come across rather more as a show with anchors being minor celebrities in their own right.  By comparison, the British presentation style is more straightforward and would almost certainly suffer horrible ratings if shown in the U.S.  The BBC is publicly funded so it doesn’t have to chase a particular segment of the viewing public (and the attendant advertising revenue that comes with that segment).   

Sunday blog: Can we have a little more Darwinism for awhile?

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — I was asked an interesting question the other day. Why do I write editorials?

Because I can, I guess.

The question comes at a time, when I haven’t really blazed the First Amendment trail as of late. The last editorial I wrote was more than a month ago when I wrote a snoozer about how private schools shouldn’t play with public schools in sports. That editorial aged me about 20 years just writing it.

Tracy “Cueball” McCue

My last “real” editorial came on Jan. 8 when I asked the city of Wellington to remove the Road Closed signs around that crumbling Lincoln Place. Boy, that editorial worked. It’s Feb. 24 and we still have those lovely orange signs on the corner of Lincoln and Washington. Maybe at this year’s Wheat Festival we can have a new contest, “Decorate the Road Closed signs” kind of like the Decorate Around the Poles contest during Christmas? Give the winner to the young lad who has the best Wheat Festival ornament.

One of the reasons I don’t write as many editorials these days, is simple:

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