Category Archives: Featured

Mark Whitener comes into Wellington Superintendent job with optimism and caution

Sumner Newscow interview

By Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — One week from today, Mark Whitener will become the new USD 353 Wellington Superintendent. He will be replacing Rick Weiss, whose tenure comes to an end on June 30, 2016.

It has been awhile since Wellington has had a new superintendent – 10 years ago to be exact.

Whitener comes to Wellington during a rather tumultuous time for Kansas public schools. But he is optimistic that there will be better times ahead.

We sat down with Whitener to ask him a few questions on where he came from and what he expects in the years ahead for Kansas and USD 353.

Sumner Newscow: What made you decide to become a Superintendent of Wellington schools?

Mark Whitener

Mark Whitener

Whitener: I have served as Oxford High School Superintendent for five years. This has been a tremendous job for a superintendent. But I was ready for a new role.

Here I was serving as both a superintendent and principal. I was ready for a role where I could focus my attention solely on being a superintendent.

SN: Tell us about your background.

Whitener: I started my public school career in Ark City in 1989 and was a fifth grade teacher. I did that for 17 years and was an academic coach as well. They asked me to be principal for Ixl Elementary in Ark City and I was there for four years. Then I became a middle school principal in Ark City. My ultimate goal was to become a school superintendent.

SN: You are coming in during a tumultuous time for public schools in the state of Kansas. What do you think is the biggest challenge you will have at this moment?

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 June 24-26, 2016. If you still need a garage sale advertised just use the comment section below. Good luck with bargain hunting! 

For Nathan Allton of Wellington, Saturday’s Slate Creek Disc Golf Tournament is epic

Disc golfing feature

Disk golf #1 photo

by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow — Although it’s been played in other countries since about 1926, disc golf is becoming increasingly more popular everywhere, including Wellington.

In 2012, Nathan Allton moved back to his hometown of Wellington after finishing college and decided to make disc golf a priority. He began working with the Slate Creek Disc Golf League.

“I’ve done a lot of work to keep Wellington disc golf alive,” Allton said. “I’d say I’m the one who kept it going.”

This Saturday, the Slate Creek Disc Golf Tournament will take place in Woods Park. Players registration is from 8 to 9 a.m., a players meeting will be held from 9:30 to 10 a.m., and tee off is at 10:30 a.m. The public is encouraged to attend and watch the game in action. The Bade Truck will be available.

“I went with a buddy to Woods Park one morning, he swore up and down I’d have a blast playing frisbee golf,” Allton said. “At first I doubted it, but after the first forehand throw with a Red Innova Champion Ape, I was hooked instantly. It’s something about the flight and banging of the chains, when you ace or hit a nice putt.”

Disc golf is a flying disc game played for precision and accuracy, where players throw a flying disc into a basket target. The object of the game is to go through the entire course with the least amount of throws of the disc by the time the player reaches the end of the course.

Provencio sentencing delayed to at least August 4; motion to acquit denied; motion for new trial to be deliberated

State of Kansas vs. Sylvester Provencio

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The sentencing of Sylvester Provencio, convicted of reckless aggravated battery, won’t occur until at least August 4.

Today, Judge Scott McQuin presided over a 55-minute sentencing hearing in which Provencio’s defense attorney Jess Hoeme filed two motions to consider: a motion to acquit, and a motion for a new trial. McQuin denied the motion to acquit. He then delayed a decision on the motion for a new trial.

Hoeme must submit a list of reasons in writing to the court by July 7 on why he thinks a new trial should occur. Also, County attorney Kerwin Spencer also must issue a response. Then a hearing to discuss this motion in further detail will be set thereafter – tentatively for July 14.

Provencio was convicted by a Sumner County jury in May of reckless aggravated battery, a level 5 felony, for the assault of Gregory Schneider, 53, and Bryan Nispel, 55 of Caldwell on April 22, 2015, east of Caldwell. The brawl took place in which Provencio and his accomplice Nick Reedy battled Nispel and Schneider after the two older men had stopped to pull a pickup out of the mud. Reedy had pled guilty to reckless aggravated battery in a plea bargain agreement just a day before the Provencio trial was to begin.

The Provencio conviction came after seven days of testimony.

Hoeme told the judge to have mercy because he felt the jury was misled by the prosecution throughout the trial.

“I have only been doing this for 14 years, but I can’t think of a case that caused me to lose more sleep,” Hoeme said. “There has been concerns and problems throughout this case about the criminal liability of Sylvester as it relates to Mr. Schneider…”

Wellington Regent Theater this week: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; Special showing of Pulp Fiction

Ninja Turtles movie

This week at the Regent Theater: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the shadows (see trailer below).

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

Other movies:

Pulp Fiction RegentPulp Fiction – Friday, June 24 at 10 p.m.

This Friday’s feature film: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: PG-13 (for sci-fi action violence). Time: 1 hour 37 minutes.

Movie Synopsis: Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael return to theaters this summer to battle bigger, badder villains, alongside April O’Neil (Megan Fox), Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett), and a newcomer: the hockey-masked vigilante Casey Jones (Stephen Amell). After supervillain Shredder (Brian Tee) escapes custody, he joins forces with mad scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) and two dimwitted henchmen, Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (WWE Superstar Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly), to unleash a diabolical plan to take over the world. As the Turtles prepare to take on Shredder and his new crew, they find themselves facing an even greater evil with similar intentions: the notorious Krang.

Authorpalooza and July 2 birthday party are part of the year-long celebration of the Wellington Public Library Centennial

100th anniversary library
The way the public library looked in the early part of the 20th Century.

The way the public library looked in the early part of the 20th Century.

by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow — The Wellington Public Library is turning 100 and two big events are coming up soon. This Saturday, June 25, Authorpalooza will be held (see flyer below). Then on Saturday, July 2, a birthday party will take place with an appearance by Andrew Carnegie (played by our own James Jordan).

The events are part of the year-long celebration for a library that started in Wellington on July 2, 1916.

The Authorpalooza event kicks off this Saturday at 10 a.m. and runs through 4 p.m. Four guest authors will be featured including: Bonnie Tharp, K.T. Hanna, Kathleen Timmermans and Jefferson Knapp at the Wellington library. Guest authors include: Chris Bertogiio, Jan Bertogiio, Adam Catlin, Louise Galveston, Lois Lenkner, James Jordan, Sherry Kline, Amber Schmitz, Connie Watts, Sherry Willis and James Marie York.

Authorpalooza brings to light how fortunate Wellington has been with cultivating local authors, who are sure to have loved the library.

The seeds were sown for the Wellington Public Library as far back as 1895.

A reading room and loan library was sponsored by Mrs. Katie Sniggs, Mrs. Lulu Frantz Whitson and Mr. W.H. Schulte in 1895. It was first placed in Coverdale’s clothing store, and then was in a little frame building south of the Antlers Hotel.

Shane Shields is named interim city manager… finally

Wellington City Council Roundup

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — The Wellington City Council appointed Shane Shields as its interim city manager at its meeting Tuesday night. Shields is the city’s finance director and served as the interim a couple of years ago when the city was searching for a city manager.

After 45 minutes in executive session the unanimous vote was taken. The city has had a couple of executive sessions to discuss its direction  after deciding to dismiss Roy Eckert about a month ago.

Shane Shields

Shane Shields

Also Tuesday the city decided to hire the Kansas League of Municipalities to do its search for a city manager at a cost of just over $5,000.

At the last meeting a representative of the league met with the council and told them how they could run the campaign for them. The league will advertise for applications, and then narrow that down for the city. The city will still set the parameters as far as how many to narrow it down to and how long the process will take.

Most likely it will be narrowed to a dozen or so before a few finalists are named. 

Sumner Newscow poll: The afterlife question








Do you believe in the afterlife?

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Provencio to be sentenced Thursday for reckless aggravated battery; rape trial has been delayed until October

State of Kansas vs. Sylvester Provencio

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Sylvester Provencio, 22, of Caldwell will be sentenced by a Sumner County District Court Judge Thursday for a reckless aggravated battery felony conviction determined by a jury last month.

In an unrelated case, Provencio accused of rape, an off-grid felony, has had his jury trial delayed until Oct. 4 at 9 a.m.

Provencio is currently in Sumner County jail awaiting Judge Scott McQuin’s sentencing set for 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Wellington. He was convicted of one felony and misdemeanor charges of criminal deprivation of a vehicle and disorderly conduct for the assault of two elderly Caldwell men on April 22, 2015 in rural Sumner County. A 12-person jury handed in the verdict after a week-long trial.

Provencio’s accomplice, Nick Reedy, had foregone a jury trial and pled guilty to reckless aggravated battery and criminal deprivation of a motor vehicle. He is scheduled for sentencing in July. Reedy is currently out on bond.

Provencio was charged for the assault of Gregory Schneider, 53, and Bryan Nispel, 55, of Caldwell during what started out as a Good Samaritan act that turned violent during the midnight hours after Provencio, Reedy and a third person had gotten their pickup stuck in the mud about five miles east of Caldwell.

Belle Plaine Council looking into legalizing chicken coops; Wellington has years ago

Legalizing chickens

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow – The Belle Plaine City Council is considering an ordinance that will allow chicken coops within its city limits. It only has to look at Wellington to see how it is going. 

The five-person council has yet to consider a chicken ordinance, but it has heard testimony from a resident, and has agreed to study the proposal. 

Belle Plaine Police Chief and Animal Control Officer Gordon Fell said he has given the subject some research. 

“I have put a survey on Survey Monkey and have asked a few residents in town,” Fell said. “I haven’t really came up with a consensus either way.”  

Fell said his recommendation to the council is to allow no more than five to 10 chickens per household. The chicken coop must be at least 50 feet from the residence and a neighbor’s property line. And there will be no roosters – because, well, roosters are noisy especially in the early morning hours when some people are still sleeping. 

Sunday editorial: America’s anger and gun violence

Sumner Newscow editorial

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — I asked an important question last week on Facebook, that no one seemed to really know how to answer:

Why is America so angry?

This week, America spent a good deal of time pointing fingers at one another in the wake of the tragedy that killed 49 innocent victims in a nightclub in Orlando.

While I can justify the anger of such a senseless slaughter, I am saddened by how little remorse there is for the victims, or the tragedy itself. For that matter, we don’t seem to have the ability to come up with any lasting solutions.

We continue to point fingers. That’s America in 2016.

But while there is no solution for America’s current surge of anger, people have resorted to a more palpable topic to explore – the issue of guns.

I try to steer clear of debating guns. It is an emotional topic for many people. I’m not a gun person, but I also couldn’t care less if you have guns, or an arsenal of ammunition. As long as you aren’t pointing those guns at me, that is your right as an American.

I also tend to side with gun advocates on issues like concealed carry – provided those carrying the weapons are well trained on the subject. I’d like to think if some S.O.B is shooting up a place, there is a good guy on my side with a gun ready to take this maniac down.

But, here is where I differ from some of my gun-loving friends:

Sheri Bruster wins volunteer of the year award after horrific accident more than 14 years ago

Sheri Baker feature volunteer
Sheri Bruster

Sheri Bruster winner of Impact Center volunteer award. 

by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow — Sheri (Baker) Bruster’s life was changed forever on Dec. 20, 2001. She and her father, Frank Baker, were just north of Wellington on their way home from Christmas shopping in Wichita, when they were hit by a drunk driver.

As a result, Bruster has been named the Kansas DUI Impact Center Volunteer of the year for 2015.

For several years, Bruster has volunteered at the Kansas DUI Impact Center in Wichita. There are also two victim presentation panels held in Wellington every year for which she speaks.

Bruster tells the story of that fateful night in which she lost her father, as well as the drunk driver, who lost his life in a horrific two-car collision, north of Wellington on U.S. 81.

“I present my story to a panel of court ordered offenders,” Bruster said. “I speak about once a month, and it’s usually people under age 21 who have been charged with minor in possession or minor in consumption.”

Bruster was presented the award by staff at the center on Sunday.

2016 Kansas Wheat Festival is 3 weeks away; Sponsorships are needed

2016 Wheat Festival graphic

Submitted to Sumner Newscow
— Kansas Wheat Festival is quickly approaching on July 6-10. The Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce still has several key sponsorships open. First come, first serve.
 Sponsorships can be split or shared.  

“We are so thrilled to have TECT Aerospace as the premier sponsor this year for the 116th Kansas Wheat Festival,” said Annarose White, Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. 

The following Kansas Wheat Festival events that have sponsorships and those that still need sponsorships: 

June 15 update: 2016 Wheat Harvest is still going great

Harvest 2016

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — As the wheat harvest started a week or so ago, farmers and agriculture officials were expecting to find a much better crop than what they had the last couple of years. Now that it is in full swing, they are finding their predictions were correct.

In Sumner County, 35-70 bushels per acre are being reported, which is a lot better than last year when even 20 would have been considered good. The weather cooperated mostly, and recent rains have not hampered progress much. Some fields are still wet, but for the most part farmers are reaping a really good harvest.

Sumner County Extension Agent Randy Hein said test weights are around 62 to 64 pounds per bushel. The benchmark is usually 60 pounds per bushel.

“It sounds like it’s pretty good from what I have heard,” Hein said.

Sumner Newscow weekly polls: The Pew Research Center gun questions


The following are polls recently conducted by the Pew Research Center. We felt we’d ask the same question here for our weekly poll:


Do you support background checks for gun shows and private sales?

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Do you feel there is need for laws to prevent mentally ill from buying guns?

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Do you support a federal database to track gun sales?

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Do you support a ban on assault-style weapons?

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Updated: 2016 Medallion Hunt is set to begin soon; register your buttons June 20 through June 23; Rules listed below

2016 Medallion Hunt general

Update: In the previous article, it stated registration for buttons will be June 20 and June 23. After revisiting the issue, there will be a registration table starting Monday through Thursday. Also, the full Medallion rules are listed below. 

By Margaret Horton, Kansas Wheat Festival Medallion Hunt chairperson — Once again it’s time to start thinking about all the out-of-the-way and unbelievable places the Medallion could be hidden.  This is the 3oth year for the event and it is being dedicated to the memory of Diana Page.  Diana was part of the clue-making process for 15 years and a sponsor of the event.  She had so much fun thinking up the obscure and devious hiding possibilities and clues.  Working with her on this event was an adventure and always a terrific Wellington history lesson.  Diana is very much missed!

Diana Page

Diana Page

There are some changes this year – the most important is the button registration process.  You may register your button at tables in front of the Memorial Auditorium on Monday, June 20, through Thursday, June 23, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  If it’s necessary to add registration times, those dates will also be in the evening and will be listed on, Chamber of Commerce website, Channel 5, Wellington Daily News and its website and KLEY/KWME radio.  Please remember if your button is registered and you find the Medallion, you win $1,000.  If your button isn’t registered, you win $100.  MAKE SURE you take time to read the rules!

A big thank you to Steve Page and for sponsoring the 2016 Medallion Hunt.  Enjoy hunting!

Official rules for the 2016 Medallion Hunt are as follows:

Wellington City Council has another executive session to discuss interim City Manager; but takes no action

Where's Waldo City Council search

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — After another 30-minute executive session Monday evening, the Wellington City Council has still not named an interim city manager to replace Roy Eckert, who was fired recently. Yesterday evening was a work session so a vote would have been impossible anyway.

Last week. after the regular meeting the council talked about naming an interim for 15 minutes, but then adjourned and decided to try again Monday. There is the possibility the council will not have an interim director.

Before going into executive session Monday councilman Vince Wetta asked two city department heads, Shane Shields and Jason Newberry, what their thoughts were on having an interim manager. Those two would be prime candidates to be in that position, and at least one may apply for the city manager job.

Both said they said they believed someone should be appointed as the interim.

Newberry said he and Shields had talked about the situation, and they both plan to do their jobs regardless of who is selected as the interim.

Shields said it would not be a problem to do his current job of finance director and be the interim city manager at the same time which he did in 2014 the last time the city was in this position.

Currently, Newberry is running the day-to-day operations and Shields is taking care of the financial aspects. Newberry said it would be good to have someone in charge for things that come up from time to time.

Post your FREE Garage Sale ads 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!

Sunday editorial: Time to name an interim city manager… NOW!

Sumner Newscow editorial

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — There is an old saying that I will clean up for you since this is a family publication.

“Do your business, or get off the toilet.”

I have in the past accused this Wellington City Council of being impulsive. Now I’m asking it to be more decisive.

Name an interim city manager, now.

“Interim” is defined as: “in or for the intervening period; provisional or temporary.”

In other words, it isn’t permanent. It gives the council time to find a permanent city manager replacement while someone is in charge.

But since firing Wellington City Manager Roy Eckert, the council has met twice and has not acted in putting someone in charge. Instead, Mayor Shelley Hansel has stated that assistant to the now phantom city manager (find that job title ironic) Jason Newberry is being place in the day-to-day operation. Finance Director Shane Shields will be in charge of finance. But there has been no resolution to document this.

That may be fine and dandy if things run smoothly. But, let’s say, God forbid, a natural disaster strikes Wellington. Who is in charge? Or let’s say the City of Wellington has a major infrastructure catastrophe? Who is in charge? Would the city be liable by not having someone in charge? What about a lawsuit?

Wheat harvest is now in full swing with yields ranging from 35 to 70 bushels per acre

Harvest 2016

Combine cutting wheat

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow – The wheat harvest is in full swing in most of Sumner County, and it looks good so far.

Test weights above 60 are being reported all around the county, and in Wellington at least, there is a steady stream of trucks unloading wheat.  Thursday, 66,000 bushels were unloaded, and 41,000 on Wednesday, according to officials.Wheat in pit

In Caldwell the Co-Op is not quiet as busy, but they are starting to see more trucks come in.

So far yields of 35 bushes per acre are common, and some have reported as much as 70. That is a lot better than last year, when flooding and drought took a toll and even 30 bushes per acre was considered good.

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