Category Archives: Featured

Sumner County Court Docket: Friday, August 28, 2015 report

Sumner County Court docket use this one

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The following are a list of criminal court complaints recently filed by the Sumner County Attorney’s office.

These are formal charges introduced into the Sumner County District Court system. The suspects listed in the complaint have not been tried by a judge or jury unless specified otherwise. All citizens are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


Garage Sales 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 28, 2015. If you still need a garage sale advertised just use the comment section below. Good luck with bargain hunting!

Fantastic Four showing at Wellington Regent

Fantastic Four use this one

This week at the Regent Theater: Fantastic Four (see trailer below)

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

Rated: PG-13. Time: 2 hour 12 minutes.

Movie Synopsis: FANTASTIC FOUR, a contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team, centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy. (C) Fox

WHS volleyball/football scrimmage is set for tonight

Football scrimmage tonight

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — It is always hard to pinpoint when the season officially starts for the Wellington High School Crusaders. Is it the first week of practice, is it the Saturday practice scrimmage, or is it the official Crusader Club scrimmage? Or is it the first game next week at Augusta?

The Crusaders Club Scrimmage starts tonight. The festivities begin at 4 p.m. with the volleyball scrimmage in the Wellington High School gymnasium. Details are as follows:

volleyball scrimmage

Then the football players will get things rolling. The scrimmage schedule for the youth football, middle school and high school are as follows:

For sale by owner: 1109 Edgewood Drive

1109 Edgewood Drive sale copy

Kitchen at Edgewood

FOR SALE BY OWNER: 1109 Edgewood Drive, Wellington, Kansas. – Beautiful newly remodeled home, three bedroom, one bathroom, one car garage. New central air conditioner. Gorgeous large kitchen. This is a must see!  Priced at $92,000.

Call 620-440-2950 for more details. 

Drury Dam in south Sumner County had one colorful history

Amber Schmitz in Drury
Drury Hotel was a big tourism attraction at Drury Dam. But not for long after this picture was taken....

Drury Hotel was a big tourism attraction at Drury Dam. But not for long after this picture was taken….

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Drury Dam, located midway between Caldwell and South Haven, has had an eventful history. Amber Schmitz, who moved to Drury as a seven-year-old, and is a historian of the area, spoke at the Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society meeting Monday to share her experience and history.

“It was a great place to grow up,” Schmitz said. “I was the only kid living in Drury and didn’t really have anyone to play with, but I enjoyed hearing the stories from the adults about the old days at Drury.”Drury Dam map

Schmitz hopes to write a book about the town that once was a full fledged community with a park, a mill, a railroad, a grade school, a community church, a broom corn field and factory, a grocery store, and a hotel.

The Chikaskia River cuts through the heart of the Drury community and has brought prosperity to the people who lived there. But the river was also its curse, bringing tragedy along with it. 

Drury was once known as the “playground of Oklahoma and Kansas,” and was a popular vacation resort. There was a hotel, dancing pavilion, bath house, boat house and several cottages. There was even a day and night bus service from Caldwell to Drury for vacationers. Some would come by train. Drury, during its heyday, was a happening town.

And the Drury Hotel was the centerpiece of the tourism community.

City Council streamlines electric rates, to continue substation

Wellington City Council Roundup

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — The recently passed budget for the City of Wellington took into account a slight increase in electric rates, and some of that is offset by a tax increase that was passed last week. Tuesday, during a work session at the Public Safety Building, the city council tweaked the rate system more. Unfortunately for electric customers, future rate increases are not out of the question.

The council members agreed to some adjustments in principle and will likely vote on them at the next regular meeting set for next Tuesday.

Council members also decided to go ahead with the electric substation project that has been in the works. Westar is a partner with Wellington in the project, and is paying for most of the several million dollar project. The substation would make power outages more rare, and that would help big industrial customers. It could also make residential power more reliable. The city will finance its portion through a bond issue and it will mean an increase of a few dollars on monthly electric bills.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The immigration question








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Wellington High School’s newest band instructor sees band like a sport

Benjamin Olson new band feature
Benjamin Olson - new WHS band instructor.

Benjamin Olson – new WHS band instructor.

by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow — Benjamin Olson, native of Iola, Kan., teaches band like you would teach kids how to play basketball.

“I love marching bands,” Olson said. “To me it’s a sport, one of the best sports because everyone plays the whole game, everyone plays all the time.”

In a recent band camp, Olson had the students run, do pushups, run drills and do fundamentals, like basketball.

“We don’t hand out plays, we start with passing, running, etc.,” Olson said. “I take the same approach with marching bands. It’s the same program I worked with in Iola, and it was made into a fantastic program in the last three years. I’m kind of following that suit, as I’ve seen that with hard work and ethic, once they see that it succeeds, they start working harder and become successful. I’ve seen what kids can do when they work hard and the fruits of their labor. It generates enthusiasm like you wouldn’t believe.”

Sunday blog: Talking SRMC, mill levies, SRMC, and construction

Five Cueball thoughts

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Five Cueball thoughts for August 22, 2015…

Leonard Hernandez

Leonard Hernandez

1. Hernandez leaving

Leonard Hernandez, CEO of Sumner Regional Medical Center, submitted his resignation Friday to take a similar position at Burlington.

While there is most certainly a reason to hit the panic button, this single event should not be defined as an ‘apocalypse is upon us’ defining moment.

Hernandez’ fate here in Wellington came a couple weeks ago when the Sumner County Medical Center board hired the consulting firm, Community Hospital Corporation, financed through the privately funded SRMC Endowment Foundation.

That firm will be doing an extensive assessment report of all operations at SRMC and bring its recommendations back to the board in a few months.

(UPDATED with statement) Leonard Hernandez resigns as President/CEO at Sumner Regional Medical Center

Breaking News

(Updated: Friday, 12:30 p.m. including Hernandez official statement below) by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Leonard Hernandez, President and CEO of Sumner Regional Medical Center, has resigned his position effective this morning to take the same position at Coffey Health System in Burlington, Kans.

Leonard Hernandez

Leonard Hernandez

Hernandez took over as SRMC administrator for Dr. Bob Bean in September of 2012. He was the administrator at Morton County Health Systems in Elkhart before coming to Wellington with over 20 years of hospital administrative experience.

In his three years, Hernandez helped pass a half-cent sales tax initiative for SRMC, assisted in the hiring of a new surgeon, implemented the “March to Million” program which was to collect $1 million in cash, and helped increase the volume of accounts receivable payments. 

Two Wellington women organize ‘Brush with Kindness’ to assist low income homeowners

Brush with Kindness copy

by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow — Seeing a need in the community, Lynne Tompkins, and her daughter, Jamie Sowersby, both of Wellington are organizing a group to assist low income homeowners with repairs.

“We went to seminars on A Brush With Kindness, and we think it’s going to work really well here,” Sowersby said.

A Brush With Kindness is an organization made up of local volunteers who want to provide local homeowners with needed help of repairs, maintenance, and limited upgrade of their homes. In order to apply for assistance, you must own your own home, be current on your property taxes, and need repairs done that you can’t afford.

“Right now, we’re trying to tie up the loose ends to get started,” Sowersby said. “We’ve already received a few applications.”

The group would like to start out doing simple projects, such as cleaning yards, installing wheelchair ramps, hot water heaters, and stabilizing roofs.

Wellington school board approves 2015-16 budget with 4.9 mill levy increase

2013 school budget up

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Wellington school board unanimously passed the 2015-16 budget calling for a 4.9 mill levy increase from the previous year.

The USD 353 approved a 59.98 mill levy budget for the 2015-16 school year.

A mill levy is the “tax rate” that is applied to the assessed value of a property. One mill is one dollar per $1,000 dollars of assessed value. The estimated tax on a $100,000 residential home in the USD 353 school district in December for property owners will be $689.77 per year. In 2014-16, the mill levy was 55.053. On a $100,000 residential home it was $633 a year.

Thus, a tax payer will expect a $56.33 increase for the year or a $4.69 monthly increase.

The school board’s mill levy increase comes on the heals of the city of Wellington’s 3 mill increase passed by the council on Tuesday.

“It’s obvious what is happening,” said Carol Hadorn, Wellington school board member. “When you cut income taxes and you lose revenue from those income taxes, you have to find revenue elsewhere.

And the tax burden shifts to the property owners.”

Mission Impossible 5 – Rogue Nation playing at the Wellington Regent Theater

Mission Impossible at Wellington Regent

This week at the Regent Theater: Mission Impossible- Rogue Nation (see trailer below)

Rodney DangerfieldAlso: Special classic late night viewing of Rodney Dangerfield’s Back to School! Friday at 9:45 p.m. All seats are $5

Mission Impossible Schedule: Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 2 and 7 p.m.

Rated: PG-13. Time: 2 hour 12 minutes.

Movie Synopsis: With the IMF disbanded, and Ethan (Tom Cruise) out in the cold, the team now faces off against a network of highly skilled special agents, the Syndicate. These highly trained operatives are hellbent on creating a new world order through an escalating series of terrorist attacks. Ethan gathers his team and joins forces with disavowed British agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who may or may not be a member of this rogue nation, as the group faces their most impossible mission yet.

SRMC board returns loan forbearance document issued by city asking for adjustments

Sumner Newscow local news report

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — The City of Wellington has asked the hospital to sign a “loan forbearance document” which spells out the debt and repayment of money the city feels it is owed at a SRMC meeting held this morning.

The city advanced the hospital almost $900,000 in 2014, and the hospital has not been paying utility bills for some time.

After some discussion at their monthly meeting Thursday morning, health care authority board sent the agreement back to the city with some adjustments requested.

The city says the hospital owes it $1.3 million, which includes $130,000 in utility bills, and would like to have a due date of Dec 31 of this year and charge 3 percent interest. The city will also make bond payments and future utility bills will be added.

Board attorney Doug Pfalzgraf said he was concerned about the due date and the interest rate.

“There is zero chance the hospital will be able to pay anything by the end of the year,” he said, and he advised against signing an agreement they knew they would default on.

Klinedinst resigns from SRMC Health Care Authority Board after being appointed a few months earlier

Sumner Newscow news report

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — City officials are looking for a new member for the Health Care Authority Board the group that is in charge of the Sumner Regional Medical Center in Wellington.

At Tuesday night’s meeting it was announced that Tami Klinedinst had resigned from the board. She was appointed just a few months ago. She ran for mayor in the last election and wanted to be involved in the community.

Tami Klinedist

Tami Klinedinst

Klinedinst is a director at Wellington Health and Rehab, a long-term healthcare facility.

Klinedinst said she had to make a “hard personal choice,” why she chose to resign. She said she needed to devote more time to her job and to her son, who is 11.

She said she felt like she had let people down by resigning, but she felt she needed to make that decision.

Applications will be accepted through September 3 by the city. 

The term runs through April 30, 2017, and people would be applying to fill the remainder of the term. The city council will consider applicants and choose one to serve on the board. If there are no applicants, or if the city wants more applications, the deadline may be extended.

Wellington High School Cumulative Fall Sports Schedule:

Sumner Newscow Calendar sports

Sumner Newscow report — The 2015 Wellington High School fall sports schedules for football, girls tennis, girls volleyball and cross country are as follows. Don’t forget about the Crusader Club Football scrimmage on August 27.

We will have Wellington Middle School schedules soon.

Wellington City Council passes 2016 Budget with 3-mill increase

Wellington City Council Roundup

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — By a 4-2 vote, the city of Wellington passed its 2016 Budget for the coming year at its meeting Tuesday night. The budget includes a 3-mill increase in property taxes, resulting in a $34.50 increase in property tax on a $100,000 house. That also translates to $2.88 per month.

Kelly Green and Jim Valentine voted against the budget. Vince Wetta, Kip Etter, Bill Butts and Jan Korte voted in favor. Green said she is not against the increase itself, but objected to the increase being used to offset possible utility rate increases.

“This puts an extra burden on property owners and people who might want to invest in the city. I don’t like that. I would be totally for it if it were going to infrastructure,” she said. “If we need more money to operate utilities, we need to raise money from that.”

The city has been raising utility rates, and is facing the possibility of raising electric rates in the near future.

Wellington Superintendent Weiss answers questions on construction, school delay decision

Washington Elementary
Washington Elementary multipurpose room as it looked on Monday.

Washington Elementary multipurpose room as it looked on Monday.

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Monday deadline had arrived. While USD 353 administrators and teachers were busy preparing for the first day of class, originally scheduled for Tuesday, August 18, Washington Elementary looked like a war zone.

It has been the summer of construction at USD 353 as upgrades are being made throughout the school district from the Security and Safety plan approved by voters in 2014.

While there is ongoing construction at the three other elementary schools — Eisenhower, Lincoln, and Kennedy— none of them were having the issues that Washington was having at 1100 N. Washington.

The issues at Washington were more pronounced because it is an older building. This summer, it was determined that the HVAC unit needed to be moved from the ceiling to the floor because the roof could no longer sustain the weight of the unit. The Wellington school board made two change orders including redoing the duct work. As a result, Washington was much further behind than the other schools in the construction process.

On Monday, the school was far for inhabitable for school business. There was pink insulation littered in the multi-purpose cafeteria room. Books, furniture and school supplies were stacked high in available rooms in the hallways. Dust covered the landscape and fiberglass was in carpet. Washington Elementary teachers were sweltering in the August heat with no air conditioning on the horizon.

Judge sets Blansett trial for Oct. 20, denies change of venue request

State of Kansas vs. Lindsey Blansett
Nichole Blansett in court today.

Nichole Blansett in court today.

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The first degree murder trial for Lindsey Nicole Blansett, 33, of Wellington, accused of murdering her 10-year-old son last December, is tentatively set for Tuesday, October 20 at the Sumner County Courthouse.

Sumner County District Court Judge Scott McQuin set the jury trial date during a pre-trial hearing today with Blansett in attendance. Blansett is facing charges of first degree premeditated murder and aggravated assault, both felonies.

McQuin also denied defense attorney Mike Brown’s request for a change of venue to hold the trial out of Sumner County, and allowed the admissibility of the 911 tape in which she called law enforcement after the alleged crime took place. These rulings came after a two hour closed hearing that removed reporters and guests from the courtroom.

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