Category Archives: Featured

Engineering report confirms in order to save 107 W. Lincoln building it would cost $529,000

107 Lincoln St. Building 8-26-16
107 W. Lincoln building #2

8000 square foot building on Lincoln and Washington has been roped off since July.

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The City of Wellington’s consulting firm Professional Engineering Consultants of Wichita just issued a report that does not bode well for the survival of the building at 107 W. Lincoln.

The city office has just received a report this Thursday from PEC stating that in order for the building to be safely stabilized and secured, it would cost either the owner or the city an estimated $529,000.

“I’m not sure that is something we could afford,” said Shane Shields, Wellington City Manager.

The demolition of the building will undoubtedly cost less, but Shields would not offer a guesstimate how much such a procedure would cost. Wellington City Inspector Richard Jack said in a previous council meeting that demolition would cost between $50,000 and $100,000.

The imperiled building on the northwest corner of Lincoln and Washington has been shut down since July 14. The street at Lincoln between Washington and Jefferson has also been closed down in fear of the building falling. The sidewalks have been also roped off from pedestrians.

Shields said he will be taking the report to the Wellington City Council which is scheduled to meet on Sept. 6 for its regular meeting.

Wellington school board approves construction of new track which won’t be built until 2017

USD school board meeting report
This will be the surface of the new track.

This will be the surface of the new track.

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — At a special meeting held this week, the Wellington school board approved the construction of a new track. But the construction of the track at the middle school won’t start until June 1, 2017.

The Wellington board approved the recommendation of assistant superintendent Brad Morris to rebuild the current dilapidated track from the ground up for a cumulative $484,400. The asphalt track will cost $281,400 and the red shell topping will be for $103,000. Morris estimates it will take two months to complete and be ready around the first of August, 2017.

In the meantime, the spring track season may be chaotic. Wellington Track Coach Charles Wallace said because the current condition of the track is unserviceable, he thinks the home high school and middle school track meets will need to be farmed out to an area school such as Belle Plaine or Caldwell. There may be a way to have grade school track meets, but that will need to be reviewed when the time approaches.

The deterioration of the track which is located behind the Wellington Middle School, has led the board to look at either replacing it completely or just put another covering on top of the current track pad. The track was last rebuilt in the mid-1990s.

“This will be my second rebuilt track,” laughed board member Angie Ratcliff. “I have been here awhile.”

Regent Theater this week: Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad at Regent

This week at the Regent Theater: Suicide Squad (see trailer below).

Schedule: Friday 7 and 9:45 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 2 and 7 p.m.

This Friday’s feature film: PG-13 (for sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language). Time: 2 hours 3 minutes.

Movie Synopsis: From director David Ayer (“Fury,” “End of Watch”) comes “Suicide Squad,” starring Oscar nominee Will Smith (“Ali,” “The Pursuit of Happyness”), Oscar winner Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”), Margot Robbie (“The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Focus”), Joel Kinnaman (Netflix’s “House of Cards”) and Oscar nominee Viola Davis (“The Help,” “Doubt”). It feels good to be bad… Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated Super Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity. U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller has determined only a secretly convened group of disparate, despicable individuals with next to nothing to lose will do. However, once they realize they weren’t picked to succeed but chosen for their patent culpability when they inevitably fail, will the Suicide Squad resolve to die trying, or decide it’s every man for himself?

Wellington Council Roundup: And, oh, yeah, the 2017 City Budget was approved

Wellington City Council Roundup

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — With all the controversy going on, last week’s Wellington City Council meetings was certainly one of the more memorable meetings in recent history. There were city council members either resigning or being ousted depending on your point of view, and a new city manager was hired.

Almost lost in the shuffle was the passage of the 2017 Wellington City Budget, which one could argue was the most important motion of all. There were also several other items of significance.

Here is a rundown on “the rest” of the meeting.

The council has been talking about its budget for a couple of months, and it received final approval after a public hearing at the meeting. The budget has a slightly higher mill levy, but taxpayers should not notice much of an increase. However, housing values do change, and even the final mill levy could still change, but the budget remains pretty much the same as last year.

Employees will get a cost of living adjustment, and the council also approved a higher pay scale for police officers. With some retirements, there should not be a significant change in the overall budget there.

Pre-applications for eligibility for up to $25,000 in free home rehabilitation is due Friday

Up to $25,000 hammer

CDBG grant

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow – People who live within the target area in the graphic above from A Street to G Street and from H Street to 15th Street, could be eligible up to $25,000 in grant money to rehabilitate their house. But the Sumner County Economic Development Commission needs your help – rather quickly. This applies to homeowners and landlords alike.

People within the target area need to fill out a pre-application for such a grant by this Friday and have it returned to the SCECD office at 123 N. Jefferson in Wellington. See application here.

Wellington is vying for a $385,000 Community Development Block Grant which is a federal program that provides money for housing assistance. If Wellington is successful it will receive money that will go specifically to a target area specifically for home rehabilitation.

“People within this area will qualify for home repairs whether it be new roofs, windows or other constructional needs,” said Stacy Davis, Sumner County Economic Development Commission Director. “If we are successful procuring this grant then it will be a five year program in which other areas of the community would become eligible.”

But first things first. Wellington needs to obtain the grant first. And it needs is a certain number of pre-applications to demonstrate to the grant committee that it is eligible.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Mayor dismissal question








Do you feel Mayor Shelley Hansel was right to ask councilman Kip Etter to step down?

View Results

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South Haven American Indian Youth Leadership Council holds a Pow Wow

Pow Wow in South Haven premiere

by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow —  In celebration of Native American heritage and culture, the South Haven American Indian Youth Leadership Council held a Pow Wow at South Haven High School on Saturday. Many Native American dancers from Haysville and Wichita joined them. Sandra Mendia of Wellington was the honored elder.

Susan Seal in red

Susan Seal

The purpose of the council is to enhance the culture, academics and successful leadership for future Native American leaders. The club’s membership is open to all high school students at South Haven who are in good standing. Twaila Wiley is the 6th-12th grade Science teacher and JETS sponsor as well. Susan Seal, formerly of South Haven, is the group’s Native American sponsor.

The group has done several things to bring cultural awareness to the school and community by hosting guest speakers, dancers, authentic tee pees, dancing for preschool students and talking to them on Thanksgiving.

Humane Society, vets discuss future of animal control in Wellington

Wellington City Council meeting report

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The two local veterinarians in town met with members of the Wellington Humane Society Monday night at the Wellington City Council work session to discuss the future direction of the proposed clinic.

After a one hour discussion, it was apparent that of all the strife the Wellington City Council has had recently, the humane society may not be one of them.

The local humane society hopes to build a 8,000 square foot shelter facility in the Industrial Park that will cost about $1.5 million.  If you add up start up costs, including getting a facility director about $2 million is needed. Linda Stewart, a representative of the humane society, said they are about half way there with funding and are looking at various funding options including getting a grant writer.

The big concern from Wellington veterinarians Richard Heersche and Dan Hefley was that the Humane Society would hire an outside veterinarian for consulting work and certain medical procedures and cut into their business.

“I can tell you, there are two vets in Sumner County and that is enough,” Heersche said.

Etter apologizes to community; explains details of past month in letter to editor

Sumner Newscow letter to editor

To the editor:

I would like to start off by taking complete responsibility for my actions and admit that I could have handled myself in a more professional manner. I’m only human, I’m far from perfect and I have made many mistakes in my life (this being one). I am certain that I will make more mistakes, most likely on a daily basis.

Kip Etter 8-23-16

Kip Etter

However, with that same certainty I can assure you that I will make every effort possible to identify those mistakes, learn from them and better myself. To all of the citizens of Wellington, please accept my apology for my unprofessional behavior at the August 2 Wellington City Council Meeting. I know now that I could have handled myself differently. I will now take this opportunity to provide you with some insight as to what I was thinking; why I took the actions that I did, along with some questions that I now have. Please bear in mind while you read this, that based upon obvious reasons this is the only platform that I have for communication.

With regards to my comment: The audio clearly states that I said “I’m Resigning”. I never specified a date that said resignation was to begin, it was not directed to anyone in specific, and was said in haste under my breath and would not have been heard had it not been for the audio equipment. Given the fact that no specific date was given, it’s not a binding resignation. Furthermore, an elected official has the right to change his/her mind without Council (or The Mayor’s) approval. My comment was not followed up with anything in writing so it isn’t official, nor was it accepted and/or voted on by The Council so it is not a valid resignation.

Post your FREE Garage Sale ads for this weekend here!

Garage sale templete use this one

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow— It is another garage sale weekend. And the world needs to know you are having one. Go ahead and post your garage sale in the comment section below. We will remind the shopping troops on Friday about your sale.

Happy bargain hunting!

Meal choices to be offered to students this year

A new way to choose food

by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow — With choices for breakfast and lunch, parents may not have to send as many sack lunches to school this year. OPAA Food Management has partnered with USD 353, and three meal choices will be available to students during both breakfast and lunch.

OPAA!“In my last district, hot lunch participation increased significantly as students saw the choices that were available,” Wellington Superintendent Mark Whitener said.

This May, the district selected Opaa! as their new food service provider. Last winter, the district submitted a Request for Proposal, then the notice was published in a regional newspaper, and the bidding companies made a presentation to the district committee. The committee evaluated each proposal based on Nutritional and Wellness Department of Education (KSDE) guidelines. The proposal that won was required to adhere to all state and federal child nutrition guidelines.

The City of Wellington starts advertising for council vacancy this morning

Sumner Newscow news report

logo-cityWellingtonSumner Newscow report — The following was a press release issued by the City of Wellington this morning:

A vacancy exists in a Council Member position for the City of Wellington.

As per Resolution No. 5471, adopted November 1, 2011, establishing a procedure for filling a vacancy in a Council Member position, this is public notice of a fifteen (15) day application period for the position.  The governing body asks that anyone interested in serving in the position submit an application for consideration.  Applications will be accepted through the close of business on September 6, 2016.  To be eligible you must be a qualified elector of the City.  The council member position is At-Large.  The appointment to fill the vacancy will be for the remainder of the term.  The term expires January 13, 2020.

Sunday editorial: An open letter to the Wellington City Council

Sumner Newscow editorial

Dear Wellington City Council:

Cool it!

Please put to rest this absurd, stupid, and absolutely unnecessary controversy surrounding council member Kip Etter and his supposed resignation, forced step down or whatever you want to call it.

It is clear from the video that Etter’s verbal resignation was done in haste and in a fit of anger, with little forethought.

So why not treat it as such? Ignore it and move on.

It is disappointing that Etter chose to behave this way, which is not worthy of the position that is bestowed upon him. There seems to be troubling repeated behavior for a man who has progressive and forward thinking ideas. I can only hope that Etter develops a sense of humility as he moves forward. I, myself, am willing to forgive him for past transgressions, because of his leadership potential of the future.

It is also disappointing that Vince Wetta, a man I admire for his years of civil service, decided to shirk protocol and take matters in his own hand by hiring at-the-time prospective city manager candidate Shane Shields without the consultation of the full city council body. It was an arrogant move.

It is disappointing the council never could come up with an orderly process in the first place for this important decision of hiring a city manager.

It is disappointing that Mayor Shelley Hansel took it upon herself by telling Etter to step down when it appears through research she does not have the legal authority to do so.

Letter to the editor: So what’s the deal people with not signing your name?

Sumner Newscow letter to editor

To the editor: A little something I put together for your consideration.  Your option as to whether to run it or not, as always, and your option as to when, if ever, you decide to publish it.

I am writing this in response to the two articles reported on this week regarding the city council and Mr. Kip Etter.  To begin with, I do not know Mr. Etter, and have never, to my knowledge, had any kind of dealings with him.  I don’t know what kind of person he is.  For all I know he very well may be a very nice young man.  Or not.  

I have heard a number of people talk about him regarding several things that have transpired here in town regarding other businesses, and of course I have read about what has happened with the city council.  But over the years, and especially now, I tend to take whatever I hear with a grain of salt.  If I wasn’t there, I really can’t pass judgement on anyone or anything.  That being said, lets move on.

The old saying goes “Opinions are like (well, you know), everybody’s got one and they all stink.”  The two articles reported on dealing with this matter had, as of the time of this writing, 80 replies.  This tells me several things.  The first being there are a lot of people who are concerned, one way or the other, as to what’s actually going on in Wellington.

Crusaders hold first public scrimmage under Zane Aguilar regime

Wellington first preview scrimmage

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — There is the Wellington High School Crusader Club hamburger scrimmage to be held Thursday at Sellers Park. And then there is the first week practice scrimmage at the high school practice facility on Saturday. Crusader insiders know this is a more accurate glimpse of what the potential is for the 2016 WHS Crusader team.

This scrimmage was a long one this morning, as WHS players butted heads for more than two hours. The festivities didn’t end until well after 11:30 a.m. Here is what we saw:

•A more conventional offense than last season’s that Crusader fans have been accustomed to in years past;

•A potentially explosive combination of Wellington junior quarterback Cade Phelps and his speedy running backs and receivers.

•And a few early miscues, misreads, and penalties.

Overall, it was the kind of day where the hopes are sky high for the season and the team is undefeated.

Crusader dates to look out ahead:

Dirt work begins for a proposed retail center south of McDonald’s Restaurant in Wellington

Sumner Newscow Business news
Road graders were shown moving dirt earlier this week west of Wellington Wal-Mart.

Road graders were shown moving dirt earlier this week west of Wellington Wal-Mart.

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The dirt work you are seeing south of McDonalds and west of Wellington SuperCenter appears to be a development that was originally proposed four years.

TAPP Development, based in Edmond, Okla., is in the process of building a strip-mall type retail center on the 5.8 acre lot behind McDonalds.

What could go into that development and a list of stores has yet to be announced.

TAPP Development received a building permit to the city of Wellington on Wednesday. They have been doing dirt work at the complex since Monday.

Garage Sales for this weekend…

Garage sale templete use this one

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The following are the garage sales that we have for the weekend of August 19-21, 2016. If you still need a garage sale advertised just use the comment section below. Good luck with bargain hunting! 

Etter off the Wellington City Council?… Maybe not so fast

Sumner Newscow news report

by Tracy McCue and James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — Two days after Wellington Mayor Shelley Hansel asked council member Kip Etter to “step down” , there appears to be uncertainty whether her pronouncement was legally binding. In the meantime, Etter has told Sumner Newscow that as far as he is concerned he has or had not resigned from the council.

Kip Etter

Kip Etter

Etter also said he will be getting in contact with an attorney to see what his legal actions are.

In the meantime, the city of Wellington is contemplating whether or not to issue a press release advertising the vacancy of the currently open position.

The issue came to a head at the Aug. 2 meeting, when Etter made a statement “I’m resigning” and walked out of the meeting thereafter after the council voted 4-2 to approve Shane Shields as Wellington City Manager pending contract approval.

Shelley Hansel

Shelley Hansel

When Etter returned at the Aug. 16 meeting, Hansel asked for Etter to step down after conferring with city attorney Mike Brown, who said:

“It is my understanding that he resigned at the last meeting. That was his announcement.”

Since then, Sumner Newscow has looked into the legality of whether or not Hansel has the authority to remove a council member or if her request to “step down” is proper.

Upon looking through the City of Wellington bylaws, there is nothing that specifically addresses what constitutes an official resignation. As one local attorney told us, this is something the current Kansas Attorney General office will probably need to address.

Sumner Newscow contacted the AG’s office on Wednesday. We were told:

Bad Moms playing at Wellington Regent this weekend

Bad Moms at Wellington Regent

This week at the Regent Theater: Bad Moms (see trailer below).

Schedule: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 7 p.m.

Other movies: Ice Age – Collision Course, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m.

This Friday’s feature film: R (for sexual material, full frontal nudity, language throughout, and drug and alcohol content). Time: 1 hour 51 minutes.

Movie Synopsis: In this new comedy from the grateful husbands and devoted fathers who wrote The Hangover, Amy has a seemingly perfect life–a great marriage, over-achieving kids, beautiful home and a career. However she’s over-worked, over-committed and exhausted to the point that she’s about to snap. Fed up, she joins forces with two other over-stressed moms on a quest to liberate themselves from conventional responsibilities–going on a wild, un-mom-like binge of long overdue freedom, fun and self-indulgence–putting them on a collision course with PTA Queen Bee Gwendolyn and her clique of devoted perfect moms.

Shane Shields hired as Wellington’s new city manager for $96,000 annual salary plus perks

Wellington City Council meeting report

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — The Wellington City Council named Shane Shields city manager at its meeting Tuesday after a 20 minute executive session to talk over details of the contract. Shields has been finance director for many years, and has served as the interim city manager since Roy Eckert was dismissed a few months ago.

Shane Shields

Shane Shields

After the executive session the four council members in attendance all voted for hiring Shields. Mayor Shelley Hansel only votes if there is a tie. Vince Wetta and Kip Etter were not there.

The contract was released to the media after the vote was taken. Shields is to receive $3,698 bi-weekly as compensation, which works out to about $96,000 per year. Eckert was making $108,000.

The contract will be renewed on its anniversary date for two years unless either he or the council gives 60 days notice that it does not intend to do so. Sixty days notice is also required for resignation or termination.

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