Category Archives: Featured

Big baseball/softball weekend for Wellington’s Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken young

Babe Ruth All Star tournament roundup
Wellington 15-year-olds 7-18-16

The Wellington 15-year-olds romped through their district tournament. Matthew Rinehart at first catches the ball as DeAndre Washington, at right field, backs him up. The Wellington All Stars will play this weekend in Junction City.

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — It was a busy weekend for the young Wellington baseball and softball players as Babe Ruth Tournaments were being held across the state. Wellington hosted  a couple of Babe Ruth Tournament this weekend including the 10-year-old Cal Ripken Baseball Tournament at Worden Park and the 13-to-15-year-old district tournament at Sellers: Here is an update of tournaments that were played and special awards presented.


16-18 years olds:

Wellington did not have a district tournament, and automatically qualified for state in Hesston, played over the weekend. Liberal defeated Wellington 12-10 in game one in a round-robin tournament Saturday. Wellington then came back to win the second game against Abilene 6-5.

No information was available for Sunday’s game against Moundridge.

Players winning the MVP and WOW’s include:

Vs. Liberal – MVP: Chantz Daugherty, WOW: Chevy Nuss.

Vs. Clearwater – MVP: Adam Hilt, WOW: Tray Cary.


Wellington rolled through the District 3 Kansas Babe Ruth Tournament at Sellers Park this weekend. The locals will now head to Junction City this Friday.

Sunday feature: A friendship and a Chevy Nova

Meslin-Bevan feature
Jason Meslin last week in the Kansas Wheat Festival parade.

Jason Meslin last week in the Kansas Wheat Festival parade.

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — There’s an old saying a man is lucky to have one true friend. While the definition of true friendship varies from person to person, Jason Meslin knows he had a true friend in Jeff Bevan.

So last weekend when Meslin put his newly refurbished 1972 Chevy Nova in the 2016 Kansas Wheat Festival parade — it was more than paying tribute to a long lost friend.

It was about finishing unfinished projects.

It was about closure.

It has been almost 18 years since Jason lost his best friend to a tragic car accident in Amarillo, Texas. But on a warm steamy Friday night during one of Wellington’s biggest parades ever, Jeff might as well have been sitting with him in the passenger seat.

Meslin, a 1993 Wellington High School graduate and now a sales director in Naperville, Ill., loaded a Nova on a trailer and hauled it from Michigan to Kansas. He then took the Nova to the Argonia Cemetery to visit Bevan’s grave, before driving that evening in the parade – showing off his bright silver J72. The Nova was then part of the Festival car show the next day. And then he and the Nova returned home.

“People ask me what am I going to do with the Nova now,” Meslin said. “And I tell them, ‘I really don’t know.’ This has always been about the journey.”

This was about finishing a project, Bevan never had the opportunity to finish himself.

Jeff and Jason hiking

Jeff Bevan (left) and Jason Meslin hiking the Grand Canyon during spring break in the spring of 1994.

A childhood friendship

For Jason and Jeff, one could say this was a storybook small-town friendship. The two were inseparable. They played together, they worked together, they spent time outdoors together, they partied together. For a stint, Bevan even lived with the Meslin family on Edgewood drive.

“Jeff always valued his friendships,” said Jerry Meslin, Jason’s dad, who still lives on Edgemore Drive in Wellington. “So he would go the distance to help you. He was more than a friend, he was part of our family.”

Wellington Police looking for suspect in Subway Restaurant break-in Saturday

Police Report

Subway robber

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Saturday, July 16, around 2 a.m. an unknown thief entered the Wellington Subway Restaurant, located at 715 North G Street, rifled through the safe and stole about $350.

The thief is described as a white male wearing at the time of the offense, blue jeans shorts, maroon hoodie, black shoes and a single black colored glove on the right hand.

The thief entered the restaurant by busting out of the front door glass.

Cowley County Community College is looking at satellite campus in Wellington

Cowley College in Wellington

by James Jordan, Sumner NewscowCowley County Community College would like to build a satellite campus in Wellington, but there is one big obstacle. Sumner County residents would have to pass a half-cent sales tax for 10 years to help support the facility.

It is a project the the city of Wellington and the chamber of commerce support. The Sumner County Commission would have to approve getting the matter on the ballot to let voters decide, and they have not yet decided whether to or not.

County Commissioner Jim Newell said he was open to seeing what people have to say and letting them vote on the sales tax.

“I feel like taxes are high enough. I am not sure I would vote for it but I would like to see what taxpayers say about it,” he said.

Commissioners are considering letting it be on the November ballot in this year’s election.

Red Beard’s Barbershop, landlord move out due to building structure concerns

Moving Out

Redbeard cutting

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow – The building housing Red Beard’s Barbershop at Washington and Lincoln Streets in Wellington was shut down and roped off Thursday.

Rumor had it that the building had been determined not safe. City officials said the city code department had no contact with the owners and were not involved with the building in any way. They did say they had received a lot of calls Thursday morning about the building after it appeared roped off.

The owner Jan Spevak, was not available for comment. She lived on the top floor of the building. She has moved out as well according to sources.

Spencer Furman, who owns Red Beard’s Barber Shop on the ground floor, posted on his Facebook page that he was “as confused as everyone else,” but made it clear he had to move. He said he had been told the building was structurally unsafe because of earthquake damage.

New DARE vehicle arrives in Wellington

Jim Yunker with DARE vehicle

by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow — Seeing a need for the department, as well as the community, Officer James Yunker approached Police Chief Tracy Heath about purchasing a vehicle for the local D.A.R.E. program.

“I was trying to find a way to purchase a vehicle, so I talked to Sheriff Chambers, and he donated the vehicle,” Yunker said.

Yunker is the School Resource Officer, as well as a patrol officer, and is in charge of the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), S.A.D.D. (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and S.A.F.E. (Seatbelts Are For Everyone) programs within the Wellington school district.

The 2007 Dodge Durango has 108,000 miles on it, and was previously a Sheriff’s patrol vehicle, but had to be faded out due to high mileage.

“Chief and I came up with the design, then Mighty Wrap in Wichita did it,” Yunker said. “It was paid for out of the D.A.R.E. fund.”

Wellington City Council continues to work on budget set for approval in August

Wellington City budget

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow The Wellington City Council  got close to putting the finishing touches on its budget at a work session Monday evening at the Wellington City Council Chambers. There won’t be any change in the property tax rates, but valuations went up a little, so the city will get a little more money from the same rates.

The council reviewed several budgetary items Monday. The council is likely to give $42,000 to the Sumner County Economic Development Commission as part of its annual support. Anything they reach a consensus on in a work session is just a general agreement, and the budget still has to be approved. Even after that, the council still has to vote on many of the items individually at some point during the year.

The next meeting is next Tuesday and there could be more discussion. The budget has to be published by the first of August. A public hearing will be held in August and the budget will also be approved at that time.

There may be a rate increase for trash collection at some point next year as there has not been one since 2010. Council members talked about considering a contract with an outside company to do trash collection, but that is a discussion to be held later.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The race relations question








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Wellington school board approves $25 month health insurance increase; has more hiring to do…

USD school board meeting report

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Wellington school board approved a $25 monthly increase in the district’s contribution to employees health insurance for 2016-17.

With the new school year officially beginning on July 1, Wellington Superintendent Mike Whitener took over the reins of USD 353 with his first meeting of the year. It lasted 90 minutes – short compared to normal school board meetings.

The $25 increase totals $350 per month per employee that the school is contributing. School employees participating in the plan should expect to shell out $100 to $150 a month out-of-pocket expense depending on what tier of the insurance plan they so choose.


Employment news

Besides hiring Rick Roitman as the head Wellington boys basketball coach (see story here), the board hired Cecily Jamison as the head seventh grade volleyball coach.

Whitener said Wellington still needs to hire a math teacher at the high school, and a chemistry teacher which will be vacated by Luke Smith once the hiring is made. Smith was recently hired as the WHS and WMS activities director.

Pokémon Go fever sweeps Wellington like everywhere else

Wellington Pokemon craze featue

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Well, the phenomenon that is Pokémon Go that has invaded the world, has not eluded Wellington either. But Wellington has always been kind of a search-and-find kind of town, anyway.

Pikachu was recently seen on the Wellington downtown sidewalks. He was quickly destroyed by a flickering hand on the cell phone!

Pikachu was recently seen on the Wellington downtown sidewalks. He was quickly destroyed by a flickering hand on the cell phone!

Fresh off the Wheat Festival Medallion Hunt where people searched through town (and the outer city limits) looking for the elusive Medallion to make themselves $1,000 richer, here comes the Pokémon Go craze where you find virtual animals throughout town or in your home or wherever.

Basically, for all of us other people not knowing what the heck is going on, the concept is this according to the VOX website:

Pokémon Go uses your phone’s GPS and clock to detect where and when you are in the game and make Pokémon “appear” around you (on your phone screen) so you can go and catch them. As you move around, different and more types of Pokémon will appear depending on where you are and what time it is. The idea is to encourage you to travel around the real world to catch Pokémon in the game.

Rick Roitman hired to be the new Wellington head basketball coach

Crusader sports news

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Rick Roitman has been hired as the Wellington head boys basketball coach, replacing Brian Buchanan, who took the athletic director’s job at Goddard High School.

Rick Roitman

Rick Roitman

Roitman was hired Monday evening in a Wellington school board meeting that was moved from Thursday.

Roitman has been an assistant at Wellington since 2007 under Buchanan, who headed up the WHS varsity program since 2003.

Roitman’s wife, Jo, is currently running for state representative of the 116th District.

Roitman’s dad, Nathan Roitman, was a long time basketball coach for Central and Southeast High School in Kansas City in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

“I think I attended my first basketball game in my mom’s womb,” Roitman joked. “I was always around the game of basketball in North Kansas City.”

(Updated Monday, 6 p.m.) Kevin Dodds wins 2016 Wheat Festival grand prize… results of various events

And the winner is Wheat Festival 2016

Editor’s note: There have been several more winner listed since this story was first published at noon.

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Kevin Dodds was the winner of the Kansas Wheat Festival Grand Prize drawing Monday morning at the Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce office.

Kevin Dodds

Kevin Dodds

Dodds won a cool $1,000 in cash and a two night stay at the Hampton Inn Casino.

The drawing was the final act of the 2016 Kansas Wheat Festival in which 3,300 button were sold for the five-day event. Last year, there were 2,800 buttons drawn. The Kansas Wheat Festival committee will be gathering input this Wednesday with a post wrap-up meeting at 5 p.m. at the chamber office.

The following are results of various Wheat Festival events:

Baker’s Bonanza:

State Farm Bureau forum brings local, state and national candidates together in one place

Sumner County Election

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — Sumner County Farm Bureau held its Candidate’s Forum at the Raymond Frye Complex Saturday afternoon as part of the Kansas Wheat Festival.

There were more than 16 candidates in attendance who were running for Sumner County Commissioner, Sumner County Sheriff, state representative, state senate, U.S. House Representative and more. Here was some of what was said Saturday evening. Sumner Newscow only focused on those races that are more local in nature.

County races: 

Sumner County officials are all running unopposed. Here are comments from two county officers.

Jim Newell, County Commission

Jim Newell political forum

Jim Newell

Newell said he has been part of the board of commissioners for 12 years, and if he gets elected to another term it will be his last. He represents the southwest part of the county.

Newell said the tax mil levy is lower now than when he started, but added the casino has had a lot to do with that. It has brought a lot of tax revenue into the county, and he said the commission wanted to give that back to the taxpayers by keeping taxes down.

Darren Chambers, Sumner County Sheriff

Darren Chambers

Darren Chambers

Chambers said he has tried to save money and had kept inmates from other counties as a way to help his budget. He said he has brought $1.1 million back into the county by doing this.

Chambers said he needs jailers though to keep that system going.


State Representatives:

Several people have filed for various state representative positions, and there are four districts in Sumner County. All of the candidates talked about their families and their background as Kansans.

District 116

Incumbent Kyle Hoffman was unable to attend. He sent Peggy Mast to speak for him and she read what he had written.

Sunday feature: Lindal Nelson volunteerism recognized with Community Cornerstone Award

LIndal Nelson award feature

Lindal Nelson full picture
by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow
— After losing his wife Carolyn of 50 years last February, Lindal Nelson began volunteering in the Wellington community.

CornerBank noticed his commitment to the community and awarded him the Cornerstone Award this year with a ceremony Thursday afternoon at the bank during the Kansas Wheat Festival.

“This is the best, this is the greatest honor I’ve ever gotten,” Nelson said. “I enjoy what I do.”

Born David L. Nelson (people use his Lindal middle name) was born in Texas, and grew up in Lubbock. His son, Michael Nelson, is the pastor of the Wellington Church of Christ, where he is a member.

Lindal and Carolyn Nelson moved here in the fall of 2014. After she died in February 2015, he began doing volunteer work for the community.

Day 4 photo gallery – Kansas Wheat Festival keeps bringing them in

2016 Wheat Festival in pictures

Sumner Newscow report — The fourth day of Kansas Wheat Festival brought out the runners, the dog washers, the classic car showers, the tractor pullers, sidewalk chalking, and, of course, the carnival riders. For all the photos by Amber Schmitz and Tracy McCue of Saturday’s events, click on our photo gallery here.

Carnival brought out the smiles of the young and young at heart.

Carnival brought out the smiles of the young and young at heart.

Wellington Humane Society made the dog population a lot cleaner.

Wellington Humane Society made the dog population a lot cleaner.

Gerlach, Buckwalter win 2016 Wheat Run, 129 runners participate

SSB Wheat Run feature

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Kade Gerlach and Lacey Buckwalter were winners of the 2016 Wheat Run held in downtown Wellington Saturday. There were 129 participants in the 5K and one mile run.

SSB winner

Kade Gerlach

Gerlach ran the 5K – which is 3.2 miles – in 17.54. Buckwalter won it wit ha time of 21.47.

Gerlach also won the one mile event with a 5.30 time and Buckwalter was also 2-for-2 with a winning 6:54 time.

This marked the second consecutive year that Security State Bank held the event next to its bank on Harvey and C Street.

There were 36 Female one milers, 18 male one milers, 48 female 5K runners, and 27 5K runners.

The 5K placers are as follows: 

Day 3 photo gallery: Now that was a parade… and more

2016 Wheat Festival in pictures

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — There were over 70 entries in what was described as the biggest parade in more than 20 years at the Kansas Wheat Festival.

The parade, organized by Devin Lin Martens of the Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce, lasted more than an hour. As far as the rest of the activities there were donuts being eaten, cows doing some (well you know), Mudbugs singing, carnival rides, funcycles and all other kinds of other mayhem. We have one more big day today. For all the pictures from day #3 click here.

Parade #1 little boy pointing

This little boy said it best, “Now, that was a parade!”


Donut eating

Donut Eating contest was a mouthful.

Cow finally went... well, you know, at Cow Patty Bingo.

Cow finally went… well, you know, at Cow Patty Bingo.

Day 2 photo gallery: 2016 Kansas Wheat Festival

2016 Wheat Festival in pictures

Day 2 Bed race Day 2 quilt show Day 2 library games Day 2 John Washington Day 2 bed races winners

Sumner Newscow report — Little Texas concert, Wellington Public Library Nursery Rhyme Relays, Bed games, Quilt Show, and, of course, John Washington. See all the Sumner Newscow photos for Day #2 in our photo gallery here

2,500 people rock out to Little Texas at Kansas Wheat Festival (band interview below)

Little Texas conquers feature
Little Texas crowd hold up hands

Little Texas thrills the Wheat Festival crowd yesterday evening.

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — About 2,500 people came to see Little Texas, the featured band at the 2016 Kansas Wheat Festival Thursday evening on a hot sultry evening.

Little Texas of Nashville performed a 90-minute concert to an excited crowd packing Washington Street from Memorial Auditorium to the Fun-cycle event. The four-member group, all in its original form, played their major hits from 1991 to 1997.

Little Texas’ stay in Wellington is lasting longer than expected. The concert bus has broken down. The band members were hoping to get to Nebraska City, for their next performance. The band is in the middle of a 10-day run which started in Texas and will hopefully end in Nebraska.

Fans go nuts for Little Texas on Thursday.

Fans go nuts for Little Texas on Thursday.

Depending on who you talk to, the Little Texas crowd was comparable to last year’s featured act Logan Mize, who played at the Wheat Festival in 2015.

It has been quite a career for Little Texas that was founded in 1988 that included Tim Rushlow, Dwayne O’Brien, Porter Howell and Duane Propes, who have stayed together from the start. During their heyday, they released five studio albums, 20 singles, and 15 music videos. “My Love” reached No. 1.

Sumner Newscow sat down and interviewed Howell and Propes prior to the concert Thursday. Here is what they had to say.

SN: Welcome to Wellington, Kansas. Tell us about this current tour.

Mike Castaneda auditions for the national TV show Shark Tank

Shark Tank Castaneda

by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow — When you are at the Kansas Wheat Festival, look for Mike Castaneda, local owner of the food truck, Bade Truck. It may become famous someday by being on the national television show Shark Tank.

“I saw they were taking applications a few months ago, and a few weeks ago, I get a call out of the blue and they liked my story so they asked me a ton of questions,” Castaneda said.

2016 Kansas Wheat Festival logoHe will find out in mid-August if he made the show.

“I wanted to get with a shark to possibly expand my reach and see what we could do,” he said.

Shark Tank is a TV series featuring very ambitious entrepreneurs, who present their business ideas to a group known as the “sharks.” Once submitted for audition, their ideas are thrown into the “shark tank” and the “sharks” decide if the business is worth funding.

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