Category Archives: Featured

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.

Wellington Public Library receives grant for 3D printer

Printing CD feature
Jo Plumb with projects

Wellington Public Library Director Jo Plumb presents the 3D printer the only one of its kind in south-central Kansas.

by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow — Wellington Public Library patrons are now able to print 3D projects – the latest in printing technology.

Library Director Jo Plumb received training for the Tinkerine 3D printer in Hutchinson on May 10, when the printer was brought to Wellington. Purchase for the printer was made possible with a $2,000 grant from the State Library of Kansas and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

“Wellington was one of seven libraries in the state to receive a 3D printer, as selected by the library system,” Plumb said. “Wellington was chosen as the library in South Central Kansas to receive one.”

Plumb completed an all day training through ESSDACK, who does educational training and teaches STEM projects. Her training was paid for by the state.

An image being printed by new 3D printer.

An image being printed by new 3D printer.

Patrons will be charged for materials with projects starting at $1 each. The environmentally friendly PLA fillament costs 20 cents per gram. The printer requires special software and is very quiet when in use.

“I was amazed at how quiet it is,” Plumb said.

Library staff will be available to help patrons find projects online to print, or they can bring their own projects in on a SD card. Projects must be saved in STL or OBJ format, and have OS compatibility with Windows and Mac. Tinkerine Suite is the software used to print the projects. Patrons will be allowed to print projects with library staff assistance. The printer is a user friendly model.

A first turkey and a family tradition

Wilmoth hunt - life on the hunt
Platt Wilmoth with is first bagged turkey. He is with his dad, Brandon in picture above.

Platt Wilmoth with is first bagged turkey. He is with his dad, Brandon in picture above.

The following is a first-person account that was recently published on the Scent Blocker website. The story was written by Wellington Middle School instructor Brandon Wilmoth about a hunt with his 5-year-old son Platt.

A first turkey and a family tradition

My five-year-old-son, Platt, and I have developed our father/son bond in many ways, but I most cherish the moments we’ve spent hunting. The sport has long been my passion, and I’ve carefully introduced him, taking the process slowly from his earliest days in the blind to ensure his safety and understanding.

On many occasions, he’s accompanied his grandfather and me on hunting adventures. It was when he was 3 that he watched me take an Eastern turkey on a family farm in eastern Kansas. He was ecstatic and I loved his enthusiasm in that moment. From then on, he’s enjoyed pheasant, quail, deer and turkey hunts at my side. Our goal on these hunts isn’t to always conquer, but to create a memory and learn important lessons about the outdoors.

School board anxiously awaits outcome of legislature-court standoff; eliminate 5th grade band…

USD school board meeting report

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — If things were normal, the Wellington school board would have bid farewell this week to USD 353 School Superintendent Rick Weiss, who has been here since 2006.

Weiss will retire June 30 at the end of the academic school year and Mark Whitener is scheduled to begin his Superintendent tenure on July 1.

But the board has tentatively scheduled one last meeting under Weiss’ tutelage for June 28 as a result of the ongoing conflict between the Kansas State Legislature and the State Supreme Court over the latest school finance law. If the legislature does not adhere to a court order to implement a more equitable school finance law before June 30, the court will shut the state’s education system.

For Wellington, this is especially problematic, because there are still so many ongoing construction projects this summer.

Weiss, who has been warning the board for the past three months that such a shutdown scenario could happen, said on Monday that the circumstances could very well occur.

“There is a real possibility that this legislature is not going to budge from the court’s ultimatum,” Weiss said. “If that happens, on July 1, 67,000 certified employees, not to mention every classified (non-teaching) employee and contractors with the school system will be out of work.” 

Relay for Life Sumner County to celebrate 20th anniversary with big event on Saturday

Sumner Newscow community event

by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow
— Cancer effects everyone in some way, whether a friend, loved one, or you yourself are diagnosed with the terrible illness. There are many challenges to face, and not everyone wins the fight, but the American Cancer Society’s continued efforts help support research and the fight to end cancer.

Relay for lifeIn an effort to raise money for the American Cancer Society, the local relay group will be holding the 20th annual Relay for Life Sumner County event this Saturday at Heritage Park/Memorial Auditorium in downtown Wellington from 6 p.m.-2 a.m.

A free survivors and caregivers dinner will begin at 5 p.m. inside Memorial Auditorium at 208 N. Washington, provided by Sean and Dawn McCue. Parking is available in the former Apple Market parking lot, and golf cart transportation will be available. Promptly at 6 p.m., a survivors and caregivers victory lap will start the Relay for Life in Heritage Park, weather permitting. If weather is inclement, the victory lap and relay will be held inside the auditorium.

So far locally, 10 teams and 55 participants have raised $9,510.93 toward the fight to end cancer.

Sumner Court Docket: Wednesday, June 8 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.


Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The what to do next with city manager question







What should the Wellington city council do with the city manager situation?

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