Category Archives: Featured

Long Island journalist rides on WALT bus as part of cross country transit quest

William Freedman feature
William Freedman was in Wellington Monday riding public transit with Zach Avina driving.

William Freedman was in Wellington Monday riding public transit with Zach Avina driving.

by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow — On Day 29 of a nationwide journey, William Freedman, a freelance journalist and author from Long Island, New York, arrived in Wellington to ride the W.A.L.T. (Wellington Area Local Transit) bus to the Oklahoma border.

Freedman left Long Island on Oct. 19 in order to be the first person to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean using only local public transportation.

“As a journalist, I want to draw attention to the current state of public transit and its potential,” Freedman said.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Freedman has a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Cox University. He has worked for Rodale Press, the Ft. Lauderdale Sentinel, Chemical Week magazine, which were all staff positions, and also has a pretty long list of freelance clients. One can read some of his work at

Sunday blog: Talking terrorism, financial hardships, Royals, stupid protesters and A&A football

Five Cueball thoughts

Le Carillon feature

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Five Cueball thoughts for November 13, 2015…

1. Paris attacks

The recent attacks in Paris, France, leads me to three conclusions…

1) It’s miraculous that we haven’t had a major terrorist attack on our U.S. soil since 2001.

2) When we humans finally decide to destroy ourselves once and for all, it will come with little or no warning.

3) Somewhere, someplace some fringe terroristic lunatics are planning a Paris type attack on this country as we speak and there really isn’t anything we can do about it. As the well orchestrated Paris attacks demonstrated, all it takes is money, intelligence, loyalty and resolve.

As for me, I’m not going to think about it and hope someone a lot smarter than me can figure out how to keep us safe. I’m too busy raising my kids, riding my bike and gathering news for Sumner County, Kansas to worry about things I can’t do anything about.


2. Financial records

Letter to the editor: All good things come to an end

Sumner Newscow letter to editor

To the editor:

All good things have been a great beginning, and mine was January 1, 1976. They also come to an end. I have announced my retirement as the Sumner County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Science and 4-H and my last day in the office will be Dec. 31, 2015.

I want to thank each and every one of you for welcoming me to Sumner County. When I started the extension office was in the basement of the courthouse and newsletters were printed on mimeograph after carefully tracing pictures on the stencils. I can truly say that technology has changed through the years.

The best part of the last 40 years has been you – the people of Sumner County. I am so grateful that you were willing to share your talents and your time. I will truly miss seeing and hearing from each of you. I learned so much from all of your questions. Never stop asking them.

Argonia-Attica annihilates Axtell 52-0 to go state-bound

A&A feature

Argonia players celebrateby James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — Last year Argonia-Attica knocked on the door of the state championship. This year the Titans hope to kick the door in and do more than just get there.

After a 52-0 win over Axtell Friday night in Attica, they may have the confidence to do just that when they face Victoria in Newton for the eight-man Division 2 state championship.

The game Friday was never close and was called at halftime because of the score.

Argonia-Attica scored on seven of eight possessions, not counting tacking a knee after getting a fumble recovery in the final seconds.Axtell sign

A-A coach Luke Greenwood said his team was confident going on, but he never expected it to get out of hand so fast.

Wellington Superintendent Rick Weiss to retire in June after nine years

USD school board meeting report

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Wellington school board took action after each of the three executive sessions Thursday evening, including accepting the resignation of Rick Weiss as superintendent of the Wellington USD 353 school district.

Weiss will be retiring at the end of the 2015-16 school year. His tenure will end June, 2016 upon the completion of this academic school year.

“I think I’ll read a lot of books, play with my grandkids, hunt and fish, and go to a lot more of my son’s baseball games,” Weiss said about his impending retirement.

Weiss came to the Wellington school district nine years ago in 2006. He had previously been the superintendent at Chase County for 16 years.

“Twenty seven years, boy that sounds like a long time,” Weiss joked. “You would think I’d be old enough to know better.”

In other board action:

‘Woodlawn – The True Story’ playing at Wellington Regent

Woodlawn at Wellington Theater

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

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

Next Thursday!: Wellington Regent will be showing the premiere of “Mockingjay- Part 2 – The Hunger Games” on Thursday, Nov. 19. for a Midnight Movie Sneak Peek.

Woodlawn Information:

Rated: PG Time: 2 hour 3 minutes.

Movie Synopsis: In 1973, a spiritual awakening captures the hearts of the Woodlawn High School Football team. Lead by their coach, Tandy Geralds, and fueled by the team’s dedication to love and unity in a school filled with racism and hate, the team makes an astounding run at the playoffs, leading to the largest high school football game ever played in the torn city of Birmingham, Alabama, and the rise of it’s first African American superstar – Tony Nathan.

Veteran’s Day program in Wellington has people on their feet

Doug Smith Veteran's Day
God Bless the U.S.A. was a crowd favorite.

God Bless the U.S.A. was a crowd favorite.

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — As always a packed house at Wellington High School auditorium were on their feet several times during the hour long Veteran’s Day Program to pay tribute to those men and women who have served and are currently serving our nation in the military.

This year’s guest speaker was Doug Smith, a Vietnam War Veteran of the U.S. Army.

Veterans Day is an official U.S. holiday observed annually on November 11, honoring military veterans, that is, people who served in the U.S. Armed Forces which coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day.

David Carroll was the emcee for the event.

Jim Lockhart was the emcee for the event.

Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day. Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who gave their lives and those who perished while in service.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The improving of quality of life in Wellington question








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Mountain Lions sightings are increasing in Sumner County… But so are bobcats, coyotes and deer

The Kansas Mountain Lion
This photo of what appears to be a mountain lion was taken in September by a trail camera in Sumner County. Courtesy of Danny Holden

This photo captured what appeared to be a mountain lion recorded on a trail camera on Sept. 20 in Sumner County by Danny Holden. 

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — The recent sighting of a mountain lion on a trail camera near Argonia has created some concern. Wildlife officials believe the animal was just passing through, and in recent years that has become more common. Before 2007, sightings were very rare in Kansas, but there have been a lot more since then, according to state wildlife statistics.

Today, it is more common. Just in September, Danny Holden of Argonia made national headline news when he captured a mountain lion on his trail camera.

Chris Stout

Chris Stout

And that right there may be the reason. The increase in mountain lion sightings may because of the increase in the use of trail cameras, said Christopher Stout, a Sumner County warden for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

“Confirmed” sightings are the real issue. Since 2007, there have been a lot of unsubstantiated evidence of the cat, but there have been only 13 verified mountain lions. Stout said the animals are most likely from Colorado, and their range is huge. So it is not all that unbelievable that a mountain lion could find its way to south-central Kansas.

“We have found collared mountain lions from Colorado,” he said. “People make a big deal out of it. People have even accused us bringing them in.”

Wellington council discusses bulldozer, problem with fungus growing on golf course

Wellington City Council Roundup

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — The city of Wellington has had its share of financial issues recently. But it still has to run the city, and two big expenses were the issues Monday at a work session meeting.

The city is still considering whether to buy or lease a bulldozer, while it is currently paying rent on a machine after the one they had stopped working.

The golf course was the other issue with a problem of fungus growing on the greens that is causing some severe problems. No solutions were suggested on the golf course issue, but it will be taken up at future meetings.

The bulldozer was discussed at the last meeting, but the council wanted to get more information on leasing and financing before making a decision.

Public Works director Jeremy Jones presented figures showing a lease option would be cheaper initially, but if the lease went five or 10 years, they would end up spending more money over the longer period of time.

Reedy, Provencio pled not guilty; case could be tried separately

Provencio and Reedy feature updated

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Two Caldwell men have pled not guilty and have asked for a jury trial at their arraignment held Thursday at Sumner County District Court stemming from an alleged attack last April.

Both Nicholas Reedy, 33, and Sylvester Provencio, 21, of Caldwell are charged with two felony and three misdemeanor charges for the alleged attack of Gregory Schneider, 53, and Bryan Nispel, 55 of Caldwell, four miles east of the community on April 22, 2015. Provencio has an additional charge of disorderly conduct, a Class C misdemeanor.

Both are scheduled to go to trial on March 8, 2016 with a pre-trial hearing on Feb. 19, at 9:30 a.m. Sumner County Attorney Kerwin Spencer said he will motion at the pretrial hearing to try both men simultaneously. However, according to the Kansas Supreme Court, defendants have a right to a separate trial.

“Just one of their defense attorneys could object to a dual trial at the pretrial hearing, and the judge will grant them their request,” Spencer said. “I would prefer to consolidate the trials for obvious reason. But that is a decision that is out of my hands.”

Since Reedy and Provencio pled not guilty at the arraignment, they are not expected to plea bargain, Spencer said.

Of the felony and misdemeanor charges, the most severe of the crime is aggravated battery, a level 4 felony.

The complaint states:

Sunday analysis: What was really said at the Oct. 19 city work session

Sumner Newscow analysis

by Tracy McCue and James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — Tuesday night, a Wellington resident requested the city council should ask for the resignation of one of its member over a comment made at a previous work session. But the council member in question, Kip Etter, said his comment was misinterpreted.

Kip Etter

Kip Etter

During the audience portion of the council meeting, Diana Page said the council member had referred to a member of the city staff as a “BTK killer.”

Etter said he did no such thing and used the BTK reference as an example of the dangers of giving a code compliance officer too much authority.

The comment occurred during a work session held on Oct. 19, 2015 at the council chambers in which a lengthy discussion took place among the Wellington City Council, city staff workers, chamber officials, and landlord property owners over the possible revamping of the Wellington Compliance Codes (see minutes of the meeting below). One of the proposals is giving the code compliance officer the authority to levy fines against offending property owners who do not comply to city code.

Page, a financial consultant for Edward Jones and president of the Wellington Planning Commission, said she had heard during the Oct. 19, 2015 meeting, a code compliance officer was being referred to as a BTK killer. She did not mention Etter by name during her speech.

This beautiful over 8-acre estate can be yours

80 acre for sale

HOME FOR SALE:  720 N. Meridian Rd., Belle Plaine, KS 67013, $270,000!!!

Beautiful, quality-built home on over 8 acres with a pond can be yours. J.P. Weigand Realtors includes this estate that features on the interior…  an open great room and cathedral ceilings. 3 bedrooms, 3 full baths, 1 partial bath. Check out this large main floor master bedroom with two large closets (one walk-in) and sliding glass doors to the wrap-around porch. J.P. Weigand logoThe master bathroom has a shower plus garden whirlpool tub. Formal dining room has both kitchen and foyer entrances though could be used as a 4th bedroom or office space.  Additional home bonuses: new carpet on main floor;  re-purposed oak dance floor in the basement; pool table; wet bar for entertaining; alarm system; private well; wrap-around porch; pond; covered deck;  2 installed gun safes; an electric pellet stove; additional storage building;  a single car garage; fenced dog run; fresh rock on circle drive. All of this on natural gas instead of propane. Call for your private showing! – See more here

Caldwell loses to Axtell 62-14 in the second round of 8-man playoffs

A Bluejay Saturday
Caldwell Colten Ward

Caldwell’s Colton Ward (13) battles Axtell in second round eight-man playoff battle.

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — Caldwell hung around for a half, but in the second,  Axtell pulled away in a regional playoff football game Saturday. Axtell would eliminate Caldwell 62-14.

Caldwell had its moments but it could not stop quarterback Colton Buessing, who ran for three touchdowns.

Caldwell ends its season at 5-6, while Axtell, now 10-1 moves on to the next round. It will return to Sumner County for a second straight week where it will meet Argonia-Attica (even though the game itself will probably be played in Harper County).

Early on Caldwell played good defense, got a stop here and there and stayed in the game.

Wellington Sears holding ‘Family & Friends’ event Nov. 8 and Nov. 9

Win Garth Brooks tickets

Nov 8 to 9 family friends

New interim administrator Barry Harding is confident SRMC will survive

New interim hospital administrator

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — Barry Harding has seen it before, and he is confident the Sumner Regional Medical Center will survive its current difficulties.

He started a week or so ago as the interim CEO and CFO, and is charged with turning the situation around.

Harding is working for Community Hospital Corporation, the consulting firm that has taken on the turnaround plan for the hospital. The group, paid through the SRMC Foundation, a private organization, did a study and made recommendations in a report that has not been made public. Harding has been in the hospital field for about 30 years, and for the last eight years he has been self employed, taking on projects such as this one.

This week, he said the situation the Wellington hospital is in, is not unusual for rural hospitals, and there are bigger ones with the same issues. He works on one project at a time, believing he can do his best by focusing on only one at a time.

Argonia-Attica, Caldwell move on; Conway Springs quickly eliminated

Titans keep rolling

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Argonia-Attica and Caldwell have advanced through the first round of the Class 8-man Div. II playoffs. The Conway Springs Cardinals were quickly ousted from Class 3A competition.

The second ranked A&A Titans advance to battle Scandia-Pike Valley after beating Hartford 48-0 in front of a raucous home crowd in Argonia.

Caldwell had similar success when it traveled to Crest to beat Colony-Crest 72-44.

Both Sumner County victors play Saturday. A&A plays at Scandia-Pike Valley at 2 p.m. which is a three-hour trip north past Salina near the Nebraska state line.

Caldwell, now 5-5, is home to play Axtell, a 46-0 winner over Lost Springs-Centre. That game starts at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

As far as Conway Springs is concerned, the Cardinals season is over after losing to Wichita Collegiate 63-6.


A&A 48 Hartford 0

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The favorite Kansas City Royals moment question








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Wellington Council makes financial moves for revenue bonds; delays bulldozer purchase

Wellington City Council Roundup

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — The Wellington City Council made some financial moves with revenue bonds designed to save money on interest payments, and put off the purchase of a bulldozer for the landfill at its meeting Tuesday.

The simplest was the refinancing of general obligation bonds from 2008 and 2009, rolling them into a new single bond issue. The city should save around $52,000 in interest, financial consultant, said Wellington City Financial advisor John Haas.

The second one was a proposal to get bids for a $4.8 million utility bond issue to help pay for the electric substation north of the city. This has been talked about for more than a year, and would make electricity more reliable for the city. It would also prevent short term outages that cause problems for industries like GKN on the north end of town.

D-Tan Salon & Boutique at 217 W. 15th St offering fall specials for the one-stop shopper

D-Tan feature picture

by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow — D-Tan Salon & Boutique, located at 217 W. 15th St., Wellington, offers a variety of clothing, accessories, locally made products, tanning and a hair salon. Owner Danae Kendrick opened the store last March. DTAN is a one stop shop for everything you need for a new you! Tanning, Air Brush Tanning, Hair Stylist, Eyelash Extensions, Body Waxing, & Boutique.

Located within the store is a regular tanning bed, as well as an airbrush tanning bed. Fall special is 30 percent off any tanning service.

DTan map use this one

The beauty salon, Beauty by Kalyna, is operated by Kalyna Buresh. She offers hair cuts, colors, eyelash extensions, shellac manicures, ear piercing, facial waxing and hair extensions. She specializes in Balayage, which is a three color hair service. She has been in the current salon since January. Aquage hair products are carried in the boutique. Currently, she has a $10 off special for first clients seeking cuts or colors. Her eyelash extension special is $110.

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