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Category Archives: Featured

Each one of us has a different memory of 911, here’s mine…

Editor’s Note: The following is a reprint of a column I wrote six years ago about my personal experience of that fateful day of Sept. 11, 2001. This is my story while working at the Wellington Daily News.

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Granted you all are probably tiring of yet another rehash of 9/11 — that terrible day 10 years ago.

But we do all have a story to tell. Here’s mine.

On that morning I was a news editor for the Wellington Daily News working beside Linda Stinnett, Brady Walker, and a slew of hard working Wellington people putting out the news of the day. The paper had just been bought out by corporate and our printing press had just been disassembled and our paper was printed in El Dorado. Our deadline was at 9:30 a.m.

For some reason, the front page was done that morning which was a miracle in itself. Making deadlines was not a WDN strength and corporate was not too shy in telling us about this fault and how it needed to be rectified quickly.

We were featuring a story on a military type exercise that was being conducted in Sumner County, I can’t remember the specifics. It was our usual day of mayhem. It was football season and the Wellington paper had just finished celebrating its 100th anniversary the week before.

I was quite pleased with my deadline making that morning.

Wellington Police Report this weekend: Friday, Sept. 8 – Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017

Wellington Police notes: Friday, Sept. 8 to Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017:

589 runners take to Hargis Creek Watershed for Wellington’s annual cross country meet

Tyler Brown was Wellington’s lone cross country runner in the 5K varsity race at Hargis Creek. He placed 10th.

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow —  When it comes to bringing people to Wellington, one can hardly argue the annual cross country meet at the Hargis Creek Watershed in the second week of September is one of the most significant.

There were 589 high school and middle school runners competing at the course Saturday morning. Valley Center girls won the varsity high school event while Wichita West dominated the varsity boys.

For Wellington there were 20 medal winners from sixth grade to senior high. There were 19 personal bests and two others who tied last week’s times. Wellington also had three first place finishers.

Camden Parkey was the top eighth grade boys runner for Wellington. He finished 29th and medalled.

Wellington sixth grade runners Kate Haines and Landyn Glenn placed first in the girls and boys division. Haines had a time of 6:47 and Glenn had a time of 6:06.

In the junior varsity two mile run, Mackenzie Heacock placed first with a 14.07 time.

The full results for Wellington is as follows: 

Sunday Blog: Things are slow to change, until they change too quickly

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow — There’s a saying:  “Things happen more slowly than you would have thought then happen more quickly than you would ever have thought possible.”  The same might apply to global climate change if mankind doesn’t do something about discharging large volumes of noxious gasses into Earth’s atmosphere.  The problem with such changes is that they don’t sit well with our psychology as we tend to process information, and then make predictions, in a linear pattern.  To use math terminology, we don’t think in terms of exponential growth, we think in linear timescales.

Robert Escandon

Think of an impending volcanic eruption.  The volcanologists and seismologists inevitably face a dilemma of when to warn the public.  Too early and they will be accused of fear-mongering leading to unnecessary panic among the public, too late and there will be accusations of not warning early enough to save lives.

Maybe we are in the early stages of such a situation with greenhouse gases and rising global temperatures.  Warnings are being issued (right now) by climate scientists but mankind cannot easily envision a sudden catastrophe.  After all, weather conditions haven’t changed greatly in the experience of our short lives so we don’t feel overly challenged at present.

BUT, our lives aren’t long enough to provide sufficient historical perspective for our psyche to comprehend.  If the science is correct, then global warming and its consequences will become apparent during the lives of our children and grandchildren.  When it does become apparent, it will do so suddenly and we will be surprised that conditions changed almost overnight.  A good analogy is a light switch — if you push it slowly then nothing happens. 

Ring the bell! Wellington dominates El Dorado with 21-0 shutout

Joe Ybarra scores all three of the Wellington touchdowns in Friday night’s win over El Dorado. Not bad for someone who wasn’t originally supposed to play according to the family. Photo by Eric Rinehart.

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Just to put into perspective how things have changed in 2017, in the first two games, Wellington has outscored its opponents 55-6, out-rushed its opponent 420 to 124 yards, out-passed its opponent 238-201, and has generated twice the offense 658 to 325 yards.

That doesn’t even begin to mention that Wellington has nabbed eight interceptions to the opponents one.

It is unlikely Wellington is going to continue at this rate of success, because eventually the competition is going to get tougher. But on this Saturday, Wellington is 2-0 and it’s an emphatic 2-0 after finishing off El Dorado 21-0. And for the first time since Oct. 2015, the Crusader football players rang that victory bell.

The defining moment came late in the second quarter. At the time, Wellington was having trouble stopping El Dorado’s spread offense and had accounted for just one first down. The Wildcats drove deep into enemy territory on a weird sequence of events in which the success (or failure) of the drive fluctuated wildly on official calls.

Leap playing at Wellington Regent Theater

This week at the Regent Theater: “Leap”

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

Feature film rating: PG.

Time: 1 hour 29 minutes.

Movie Synopsis: 11-year-old orphan, Félicie (Elle Fanning) has one dream – to go to Paris and become a dancer. Her best friend Victor (Nat Wolff), an imaginative but exhausting boy with a passion for creating, has a dream of his own – to become a famous inventor. In a leap of faith, Victor and Félicie leave their orphanage in pursuit of their passions. But – there’s a catch, Félicie must pretend to be the child of a wealthy family in order to gain admittance to the prestigious and competitive Opera Ballet School in Paris.

Oh, by the way, the Wellington City Council also dealt with other issues this week

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — While the world was coming to an end over the Cowley College Development Agreement situation, the Wellington City Council dealt with other issues this week, including the Lincoln Place Building.

The council approved on Tuesday a measure to demolish the Lincoln Place building.

The building has been closed off for more than a year and has been considered a dangerous structure. The owners, Richard and Jan Spevak gave the building to the city, and recently they also turned over an insurance settlement they received on the building. The city had been waiting for that settlement before proceeding on dealing with the building.

The city received insurance money totaling $285,900. The cost of demolition and asbestos removal will be $329,000.

The remaining $43,000 will be paid from carry over demolition funds, the 2016 carryover or the general fund.

A&A travels to Caldwell; Oxford has a tough one at West Elk…

Week #2
Conway Springs at W. Independent
Cheney at Belle Plaine
A&A at Caldwell
Oxford at West Elk
Flinthills at South Haven

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — This week’s Sumner County featured game will be Argonia-Attica at Caldwell. Oxford at West Elk is also intriguing…

Argonia-Attica (1-0) at Caldwell (1-0)

In the past few years, Caldwell and Argonia-Attica have been Sumner County’s two most successful eight-man football programs. Still there hasn’t been a defining game between them. Last year, Caldwell defeated A&A by a 90-48 score on a Saturday afternoon.

This week, both teams hope to go 2-0 after posting 18-plus wins over their opponents. Caldwell cruised to a 50-20 victory over Udall while A&A beat Central Burden 38-20.

Garage Sales for this weekend…

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The following are the garage sales that we have for the weekend of Sept. 8-10, 2017. If you still need a garage sale advertised just use the comment section below. Good luck with bargain hunting! 

It’s a go! Wellington Council approves developer’s agreement 4-1 for Cowley College Sumner Campus

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — It’s a done deal. Cowley College- Sumner Campus is coming to Wellington.

The questions were answered to the satisfaction of most of the city council at a special meeting Thursday night and a developers agreement was passed on a 4-1 vote. Council members Kelly Hawley, Kip Etter, Bill Butts and Vince Wetta voted for the measure. Jim Valentine voted against it.

The agreement came to the council Tuesday, but there was a public outcry for more information, and some council members also wanted more information.

The agreement spells out who will pay for what as far as infrastructure goes, and in general the city will pay half and the college will pay half.

Cowley President Dr. Dennis Rittle answered several of the questions that had been submitted, and after it was over he thanked the council for their belief in the college and for their investment for the future.

Crusader preview: Wellington opens at home against Bill Shaw led El Dorado

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — There’s been an extra spring in the Crusaders fans step this week after Wellington opened its season with an almost stunning-like 34-6 victory over Clearwater in the season opener.

It’s as if that 11-game losing streak never happened. Now it’s like people are saying “I hope Wellington isn’t resting on its laurels.” Things change quickly on the sports landscape.

Wellington has its home opener Friday in what seems like forever. Quickly… when was the last time the Crusaders played at home on a Steve Gill manicured Sellers Park? It was that overtime home game vs. Winfield on Oct. 14. It has been awhile.

El Dorado comes into the game at 0-1 searching not only for its first win but its first score. It was knocked down by Mulvane 33-0 in its season opener. Like Wellington, El Dorado has seen its struggles in recent years, going 3-6 in 2015.

During the off season, El Dorado changed coaches and hired someone who is familiar to old-time Crusader fans. Bill Shaw was hired. It’s hard to name all the sports teams Shaw has been involved with because there have been a lot. He was one of the earliest coaches in the Wellington girls basketball program, and led the boys baseball program in the early 1990s in its infancy- coaching the team to a state championship in 1995.

Dear Wellington Council: Don’t let us lose the Cowley College Campus

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Dear Wellington City Council… please.

Please, please, please sign the Developers Agreement for the Cowley College at the special meeting held at the Council Chambers tonight at 8:30 p.m.

Normally, I reserve editorials for Sundays. This one is too important not to do so now. For if you turn the developer’s agreement down tonight, Wellington runs the risk of losing this campus to another community. Whether it is a high risk or a low risk, I’m not sure. But if I were a council man from, say, Mulvane, I would be licking my chops. “Hey, we stole their casino. Let’s go get that Cowley College Campus as well,” I would be saying to myself.

Will that happen? Not sure. I just remember 10 years ago, getting close to this very day actually, there was confidence that a Kansas Casino would be built off Exit 19. Some would argue that of the four casino proposals listed at the time, the best proposal was the one to be built off the Wellington exit ramp. Wellington civic leaders worked hard to bring the town its casino. It had the better logistics, the more established police force, the equitable distribution of tax base revenue amongst countywide governmental entities, the support of the County Commissioners, the overwhelming support of the Wellington electorate and those living in the surrounding neighbors for which the casino was proposed. If you remember, Exit 33 neighbors didn’t want the casino.

Still…. it didn’t matter.

It didn’t friggin matter.

The Kansas Lottery Commission awarded the casino to Mulvane. And after the first company proved to be incompetent neanderthals and the proposal fell through, the state commission was asked to vote a second time. And it did so – to Mulvane. And the third time? Yep, Mulvane.

And that is where it now sits.

I’m not saying the same thing will happen with the Cowley College – Sumner Campus here. But those old memories came streaming back yesterday. If we, as in us, the community of Wellington, screw around with these Cowley officials with this petty squabbling about percentages on streets and electricity and whatever, then we run the risk of ticking off our partner.

I know the land was donated. I know it was sold as a centralized Wellington campus facility. But if this agreement is not signed tonight, you run the risk – whether it be small or large – of having that door opened ever so slightly and allowing the campus go someplace else.

And God forbid if that happens to Wellington!

I have heard people say, “the campus isn’t going anywhere because they have already started the dirt work.” Well, call Hibbett Sports of Wellington to see how that is working out.

I obtained the ballot question from the Sumner County Election Office yesterday. It reads:

I don’t see anything about the campus being built in Wellington in any of that wording.

I can hear the skeptics. Well, Mulvane already has a Cowley College. No, that is a storefront much like we had in the mid-1990s. This is a campus. Believe me Mulvane officials know the difference.

Do you really want to see Cowley College – Sumner Campus in Mulvane advertised off the exit 19 ramp?

“Hey, let’s just drop my kids off for a college education and then gamble. At least, I won’t have to drive to Wellington.”

Are you willing to risk the campus over a couple of mills which equates to $2.61 a month on a $100,000 home (which might get you an egg roll at your favorite Chinese Restaurant) to appease a few social media warriors? Mind you, these are mills that you have already been penciled into the 2018 budget you approved two weeks ago.

I tell you what if you turn this developer’s agreement down now, this put the bargaining leverage on Cowley College because essentially you are saying, “we don’t trust you.” Also, you made that recommendation at the May 11 work session meeting with the streets of going 50-50. To change your mind now, would be unethical — because you set the rules!

I’m not going to haggle over the details of the project. That information can be found here. There is so much ambiguity to these agreements – so much complexity. You could go on forever. Even city staff had trouble remembering the details of who paid for what with some of these projects.

There is no real right or wrong reason to these questions you will be asking yourself tonight.

But maybe it is in good faith to stand behind your city staff who was asked to perform a duty under your directive.

Do you really want to risk everything, and be faced with a legacy of losing Cowley College to a neighboring town? Do you really want to lose that one thing that gives Wellington the opportunity for growth in this community at the moment, when we have so many other pressing economic problems — including keeping our hospital open?

We lost the casino. The one redeeming solace we have is it wasn’t our fault. There was nothing we could do.

And yet it still stings.

If we lose the campus, we won’t be able to point our finger anyplace else but at ourselves. And that is a whole lot worse. Let’s stop the petty bickering amongst ourselves and secure this campus for Wellington.

You know I love football and I’m going to use an analogy here. You have a touchdown lead and all you have to do is kneel on the ball and run out the clock.

Don’t fumble the ball away.

It’s your legacy you’re talking about here.

Sign it now!

Wellington Council set to decide on Cowley College – Sumner Campus Developers Agreement on Thursday

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — After a spirited debate, the Wellington City Council tabled the Cowley College-Sumner Campus Developer’s Agreement until Thursday when it could hold a work session and delve into it with more details. The agreement concerns how much the city and the college were going to pay. City staff and Cowley College officials had worked out the agreement, but some felt there were still unanswered questions.

By a 3-2 vote, the matter was tabled until Thursday. The work session starts at 6:30 p.m with a special meeting set for 8:30 p.m. when they hope to vote on the agreement.

Council members Kip Etter, Kelley Hawley and Jim Valentine voted to table the measure. Bill Butts and Vince Wetta voted against tabling the matter. Jan Korte could not attend the meeting as she is out of town.

Hawley felt the council members did not have enough input into the agreement.

“We are in a no-win situation,” Hawley said. “We had no say in this agreement, adding that they are deciding how much to pay for infrastructure, not whether to have the college.”

She wanted to have a work session to go over the agreement.

Wellington Police Report for this weekend: Friday, Sept. 1 – Monday, Sept. 4, 2017

Wellington Police notes: Friday, Sept. 1 to Monday, Sept. 4, 2017

Friday, September 1, 2017

De’Andre Washington is named Big Cheese Athlete of the Week

De’Andre Washington

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Wow what a week to pick the first 2017-18 Big Cheese Athlete of the Week.

After much deliberation, we have picked De’Andre Washington, a junior receiver/defensive secondary player, for the Crusaders. In Wellington’s 34-6 victory over Clearwater, Washington caught two touchdown passes of 53 and 30 yards in the first half helping the Crusaders take a 20-0. He also accounted for a fumble recovery in the end zone midway in the third quarter which pretty much secured victory for Wellington.

For the night, Washington had 120 yard receiving on five catches. It’s been awhile since we had a 100-plus yard receiver.

For his efforts, Washington receives a FREE delicious pizza at Big Cheese Pizza on 324 N. Washington. Ave. 

Culture Cow: It’s Labor Day, binge your life away

by Devin McCue, Sumner Newscow — In all actuality, this is the happiest Monday of the year: Labor Day!  Labor Day is a top five holiday, not only because there’s no school or work, but also because you can spend the entire day doing nothing and be completely content with that.  There are no obligations to be productive on Labor Day (in fact I’m only writing this article Monday morning, which explains the late publication) so enjoy yourself; walk around the house in your underwear and never walk outside, it’s your prerogative!

Unlike most Labor Days that are dominated by summer blockbusters, this inaugural Monday in September will be better spent watching TV (albeit, there are some great movies still in theatres like Logan Lucky, Wind River, and Dunkirk).  So find the remote and lose your productivity, it’s the pop culture event of the year.

The best way to kick off such a wonderful holiday is with the new season of the Netflix original: Narcos.  Narcos is a brilliant bilingual show about the Columbian cocaine trade in the 80s.  Much like the 80s itself, Narcos is full of good music, tense political debates, and lots and lots of drugs.  The new season is a clear departure from the begging of the series as it follows the undisputed drug kingpins, the Cali Cartel in the wake of Pablo Escobar’s death.

The show changed its narrator to the former co-star Pedro Pascal or as he’s known in the show, Detective Peña.  The new focus of the landmark Netflix series will breath life into the show and relinquish its dependence on the expertise of Wagner Moura, the actor who played Pablo and stole the show week by week.

Special report: Council to mull over Cowley County developmental agreement this Tuesday; there is plenty to consider

The ground work has already been prepared at Cowley College, east of Wal-Mart- the financial details not so much.

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — This Tuesday, the Wellington City Council will either accept, reject or table a developer’s agreement with the board of Cowley College on its Sumner County campus to be in operation by October 2018.

The proposed agreement will be discussed at the regular council meeting Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. In it will include financial stipulations hammered out by the city of Wellington and that of Cowley College during the construction process involving streets, traffic signals, sanitary sewer, water, electricity, storm damage and sidewalks.

Despite who pays for what, there is one undeniable fact: the taxpayers will be footing the bill regardless – since both are governmental entities.

The proposed agreement being sent to the city council Tuesday includes the following stipulations (see full development agreement here):

•The city will pay 50 percent of the cost of design and construction of the campus streets in the first of Phase 1 of the project. The developer, i.e. Cowley College, pays the other 50 percent.

•The developer pays 25 percent of the design, equipment and installation of traffic signs at William Drive and U.S. 160.

•The sewer is a little tricky. The city will pay 100 percent of extending the sewer to the property and then beyond while the developer pays for the connecting service line. The college would then pay to hook it up and then be charged a hook-up fee.

•The city and developer will split the cost of the water line.

•The city will pay 100 percent of extending electric service to the meter connection. The developer is paying for any electrical structures like LED lighting and wood pole structures.

•Storm drainage will be paid by the developer.

•Sidewalks will be paid by the developer.

Dr. Dennis Rittle said the estimated final development tally would be $1.24 million for Cowley through the half-cent sales tax funding and $737,000 by the city. (See site costs breakdown here).

How we got here

Sunday blog: A really bad situation

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow — Recently, I found myself mulling over past situations in my life, when things went horribly wrong:

Horrible Situation Number One: 

Robert Escandon

I had invited about 20 engineers (and their wives) to a nice evening meal at a restaurant just north of the university town of Oxford.  This is when I owned an Engineering Company and we had been awarded our best-ever contract from an engineering group at the UK Atomic Weapons Establishment.

So, the nice meal was to be a “thank you” to the group for all their business. I sat at the top of the table with Dr. Adams on my right and Mrs. Adams on my left.  Dr Adams was the principal director of the facility and therefore the one who actually placed the orders and who signed off payment checks.

I have four children so I know what a pregnancy looks like — at least, I thought I did.  The meal was going well and everyone seemed happy, so I took the opportunity to be courteous and politely asked Mrs. Adams “When is it due?”

Wellington ends streak emphatically with 34-6 trouncing over Clearwater

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Wellington not only broke an 11-game losing streak, but it did so in a huge way.

Who out there saw a 34-6 Wellington victory last night? If you said, yes, check yourself into a rehab clinic for pathological liars.

The last time Wellington won a game was in October, 2015 against Rose Hill. It would proceed to lose 11 straight, and complete an 0-9 record in 2016. But that was ancient history Friday. If you had fallen asleep like Rip Van Winkle and been asleep for 10 or so years, you would have thought it was the same ole’ dominating Crusaders of yesteryear.

Grey Hatfield rushes for 87 yards Friday.

How’s this for improvement: Wellington held Clearwater to 22 yards rushing on 20 attempts. That’s barely more than a yard per carry. The Indians eventually quit trying to run, and resorted to airing it out. In the end, both Clearwater and Wellington were an identical 136 yards passing.

But more than half of Clearwater’s offense came on one single play. A 70 yard bomb from Tanner Cash to Cody Layton midway through the third quarter. Take away that one long throw and Clearwater was stumped for 66 yards. Not bad.

Garage Sales for this weekend…

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The following are the garage sales that we have for the weekend of Sept. 1-3, 2017. If you still need a garage sale advertised just use the comment section below. Good luck with bargain hunting! 

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