Category Archives: Featured

Wellington man charged with cultivating 174 grams of marijuana in his home

Sumner Newscow news report

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — James Francis, born in 1981, and Joivah Francis, born in 1978, of 704 E. Lincoln St. in Wellington have been charged with two felony counts and one misdemeanor for allegedly growing marijuana inside his home.

Sumner County Attorney Kerwin Spencer in late July have charged the Francis couple with possession of more than 28 grams of marijuana without affixing a drug stamp tax which is considered a level 10 felony. Francis’s was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia for cultivation or analyzation, a level 5 drug felony  and possession of drug paraphernalia for storing or inhaling marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor.

The Francis family is accused on March 1, 2014 of possessing a quantity greater than 28 grams of marijuana which made him according to the Sumner County District Court Complaint a dealer pursuant to the Kansas State Statute 79-5201 which states: a ”dealer” means any person who, in violation of Kansas law, manufactures, produces, ships, transports or imports into Kansas or in any manner acquires or possesses more than 28 grams of marijuana, or more than one gram of any controlled substance, or 10 or more dosage units of any controlled substance which is not sold by weight.

The Francis family is accused of failing to have attached the official stamps showing that the tax imposed had been paid in full and due as soon as the marijuana plants were harvested at his Wellington home. Allegedly, Joivah and James Francis had grown and harvested a dried weight of 174 grams of marijuana plants in their home in Wellington at 704 E. Lincoln, the complaint said.

(Updated: Wednesday, 4 p.m.) 2014 Sumner County Fair Results

Sumner County Fair 2013

Sumner Newscow report — The 2014 Sumner County Fair results are as follows:

 Grand Parade:

      1st – Trailblazers 4-H Club  ($75)

      2nd – Caldwell Jaynes ($50)

      3rd  – Caldwell Czech Chapter ($35)

Thanks to these Sand Pile contributors:

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The now that the political ads are over question…








The political ads are over (temporarily). Now what are you going to watch?

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Cliff Bales wins Sumner County District 3 Commissioner race; Kelley wins 80th District Representative battle

Sumner County 2014 election

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Cliff Bales, a Republican from Oxford, all but assured himself re-election after beating his challenger Jason Boyd in the Sumner County Commissioner District 3 race for the Republican nomination. Bales won with 451 votes (58.57 percent) to Boyd’s 319 (41.43 percent).

Cliff Bales

Cliff Bales


Kasha Kelley

Kasha Kelley

Because there is no Democrat running for the position in November, and unless there is a write-in candidate challenge, Bales is assured re-election and will serve another four years as representative of the third district encompassing most of eastern Sumner County.

In the other local primary race of interest Arkansas City Republican incumbent Kasha Kelley knocked off her challenger Andrew Lawson, also of Ark City 1,191 to 881 or 58 to 43 percent of the vote. The same rules apply for Kelley as it is with Bales. She has no Democratic challenger in the general election.

Steve Warner, District 1 Commissioner, was unopposed as was State Representative Kyle Hoffman in the 116th District. 

Shane Shields has withdrawn his name from permanent Wellington City Manager job search

Sumner Newscow local news report

By Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Shane Shields, the interim Wellington City Manager, has withdrawn his application to become the new permanent city manager.

Shields said he submitted a letter to the city council on July 29 stating he is withdrawing his name from consideration.

Shane Shields

Shane Shields

“It was for a number of contributing factors,” Shields said.

He said he would not elaborate what those factors were.

Shields, who is the Wellington City Clerk, was hired to replace Wellington City Manager Gus Collins on an interim basis at the start of June. He is currently serving in both capacities until a permanent city manager is hired. 

1997 WHS Graduate Cle Ross manages a team to the RBI World Series in Texas

Crusaders around the world

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Five years ago, Cle Ross, a 1997 Wellington High School graduate, was embarking on a goal — bringing back youth baseball to inner city teens in the Kansas City, Kans. area – whether it be new fields, new teams or new coaches.

Today he is enjoying the fruits of his labor. His team, the KCK RBI, has qualified in the 2014 RBI World Series to be played in Oak Grove Complex in Grapevine, Texas. starting this Friday.

KCK RBI is an acronym for Kansas City Kansas Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities. It is a program sponsored through Major League Baseball and is an international effort by the pro league to introduce baseball to athletes in the inner city who may not be able to afford to play the game.

Cle Ross (right) is shown with his mother Pat Ringo of Wellington.

Cle Ross (right) is shown with his mother Pat Ringo of Wellington.

Cle Ross is the manager of the KCK RBI which is representing the Kansas City Royals. Most recently KCK RBI won the Central RBI Regional championship at Miller Park – home of the Milwaukee Brewers. It was quite an accomplishment.

Wellington Heat falls to NJCAA Saturday 6-2 at Lawrence-Dumont; plays San Diego in losers bracket Monday

Wellington Heat

Sumner Newscow report — The Wellington Heat lost their first game of the 2014 NBC World Series Saturday evening losing to the National Junior College Athletic Association 6-2 at Lawrence Dumont Stadium in Wichita.

The Heat will now fall into the losers bracket where they will play the San Diego Waves, which won this morning against the San Antonia Titans 7-5. The teams will play on Monday at 4 p.m. (see brackets here).

Wellington, the 2014 Jayhawk League Champion and 2013 NBC World Series Runner-up, is now in a do-or-die situation moving forward. Last year, if you remember, the Heat were in a similar situation losing to Santa Barbara about the same time in the tournament, before advancing all the way to the championship game. 

Sunday Editorial: The Wellington City Manager job search should be a combination of privacy and transparency

Sumner Newscow editorial

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Wellington City Council had an interesting topic at its Tuesday work session.

The council is starting the city manager hiring search, which might have started that night since a 45-plus minute executive session (closed meeting) was called to discuss non-elected personnel. I don’t know that for sure. I wasn’t privy to the closed meeting.

But before the executive session there was a 20 minute discussion on how the council should conduct the city manager job interviews. Some readers on this website feel the interviews should be conducted in open session. Wellington Mayor Roger Stallbaumer brought the issue up wondering if the council had any legal authority to do conduct open interviews.

City Attorney Mike Brown said the city has no obligation to conduct any of the interviews in public. He did say the city can place the names of the candidates out there for public consumption when the search gets whittled down to a select few candidates.

He said one town in the vicinity did a similar tactic and he said he was aware of four other names who were vying for the Wellington City Manager position when Gus Collins was hired in 2006. He couldn’t recall if the public knew those names though.

For the record, Sumner Newscow has never suggested the city manager interviews should be conducted in open session. Am I against it? Absolutely not. I advocate open government and those open interviews would make a great news story. 

Wellington mural on back of new press box shows the spirit of Crusader football over the years

Crusader football mural feature

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — A new mural which covers the back of the new Wellington press box at the Sellers Park football field was erected this morning. It culminates almost a year of planning and forethought and has most certainly put a stamp on what Crusader football is all about.

The mural, sponsored through the general donation of Impact Bank, is a story of 100 years of football. The 39 by 15 foot vinyl canvas digital production is the imaginary work of Wellington High School graduates Steve Sturgis and Samson Ledesma and is similar to the one that was made in the Wellington High School weight room.

On this Crusader collage mural, if you look closely you will see:

• In the upper right corner – a picture of the first football team at Sumner County High School in 1903;

Sumner County Commissioner District #3 Candidate’s Forum: Cliff Bales and Jason Boyd

Kansas Commissioner Candidate's forum

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The following is a candidate’s forum for the two Republicans of the Sumner County Commissioner third district. Cliff Bales of Oxford is an incumbent. Jason Boyd of South Haven is a challenger. The third district encompasses the east side of Sumner County. The district can be found here for Sumner County (third district is in white) and here for the city of Wellington.

1. Give us some background about yourself.

Cliff Bales thumbnailBales - I am a life-long Sumner County resident who lives with, and endorses, Christian, conservative, traditional values. My wife Anita and I have been married for 48 years. When we met, she was 13 and I was 14. We both understand the meaning of responsibility and commitment.

We live on the family farm southwest of Oxford where we have lived for 38 years becoming Century Farmers in 2009. We have a grown son and daughter with 2 grandsons.

Along with an extensive, successful business background, I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Management. My businesses have had dealings primarily in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Missouri. I currently manage real estate investments.

When I sold my last sales/service business, I was hired by the Sumner County Planning, Zoning and Environmental Health Department. I served for 10 years as a Field Tech. Those 10 years gave me the opportunity to observe the workings of the County. Being well versed in county regulations now serves me well as Commissioner. When it comes to county issues, I apply solid business practices at every opportunity.

Jason Boyd thumbnailBoyd – Here is a list of my qualifications:

• Raised in Sumner County – age 31

• Received Associate Degree from Cowley County Community College, Johnson County Community College, KLETC

• Employment: law enforcement past four years; prior eight year career with BNSF Railway

• Family: son of late Sheriff Kenny Boyd and Cindy Boyd; father of two sons; finance’ Kori Martin

• Recently constructed new home in my district

• 240 acre land owner and farmer in Sumner County

• My current position is the Chief of Police in my hometown of South Haven, where I work with citizens and local government daily.

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ to be shown at the Wellington Regent this weekend

Dawn of the Planet of Apes

This week at the Regent Theater: “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (Movie trailer is below).

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

Rated: PG-13 Time: 2 hours 10 minutes.

Movie Synopsis:A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species. (c) Fox

(Updated 6-30-14) Council discusses budget, gun signs, another SRMC tax referendum and executive session for city manager interviews

Wellington City Council Roundup

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Technically, when the Wellington City Council meets for a work session that isn’t a regular scheduled meeting, it’s to do a lot of the preparation work for the regularly scheduled Tuesday meetings. No action is ever binding during a work session.

On Tuesday night, nothing was resolved, but a lot was said as the council sets the blueprint for the city policies ahead. It should be an interesting next six months at the council chambers.

Here were some of the subjects the council is working on:

The Wellington City Budget

The council appears to have hammered out the budget and will submit a legal notice to the legal publication before holding a public hearing at its regular meeting on Tuesday Aug. 19. It will then vote to approve or turn down the budget thereafter.

Sumner Newscow conducting straw poll for 3 state primary races on Tuesday

Sumner County 2014 election

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Listed below are the three most hotly contested races in next week’s Kansas State Primary. Sumner Newscow is conducting a straw poll on the races where there is opposition:

•The Republican primary battle in Sumner County District 3 between incumbent Cliff Bales of Oxford and challenger Jason Boyd of South Haven;

•The 80th State Representative District Republican race between incumbent Kasha Kelley of Arkansas City and challenger Andrew Lawson of Arkansas City;

•The U.S. House Fourth District Republican primary race between Mike Pompeo and Todd Tiahrt.   The polls listed below are not scientific, but have proven to be a reliable barometer of the general mood of the electorate going into election booth. Use this information at your discretion.

In order to make this information as accurate as possible, we urge you to vote only in the polls for those that appear on your ballot next Tuesday or with advanced voting. Maps for the District 3 Commissioners race and the 80th District State Representative race are featured below with the poll question.

We will be featuring a District 3 Commissioner forum on Friday.

Polls in Sumner County are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Information about voting locations are as follows: 

Sumner Newscow straw poll vote: Sumner County Commissioner race District 3

Straw poll vote - District 3 commissioner







What Republican would you vote for as 3rd District Sumner County Commissioner

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By Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Third District Sumner County Commissioner Republican Primary will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 5. Incumbent Cliff Bales of Oxford is being challenged by Jason Boyd of South Haven. Only voters in Sumner County’s third district will be voting in this race. The third district is in white in the maps below. Please vote in this straw poll if you are a registered Republican living in the third district and plan on voting on Tuesday.

Jason Boyd

Jason Boyd

Cliff Bales

Cliff Bales

Click for larger image of Commissioner District Sumner County Map here

Commission Districts 2012

Click for larger image of  Commissioner District Wellington map here

Commission Districts (Wellington) 2012

Sumner Newscow straw poll: The 80th District State Representative Republican primary race

Straw poll vote- 80th state rep







What Republican would you vote for as 80th District State Representative

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Kasha Kelley

Kasha Kelley

Andrew Lawson

Andrew Lawson

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The 80th District State Representative Republican Primary will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 5. Incumbent Kasha Kelley is being challenged by Andrew Lawson. All voters in Sumner County will be voting in this race. Please vote in this straw poll if you are a registered Republican and plan on voting on Tuesday.

Click here to view larger map here.

80TH & 116TH House - entire county (redistrict 2012)


Click here to view large map here.

80th & 116th House - Wellington City split (redistrict 2012)

Sumner Newscow straw poll: The U.S. House District 4 Representative Republican primary race

Straw poll - U.S. House District 4
Todd Tiahrt

Todd Tiahrt

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The U.S. District 4 Representative Republican Primary will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 5. Incumbent Mike Pompeo is being challenged by Todd Tiahrt. All voters in Sumner County will be voting in this race. Please vote in this straw poll if you are a registered Republican and plan on voting on Tuesday.

What Republican would you vote for as 4th District U.S. Representive

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Plans move forward with construction of 40-unit Wedgewood Apartment complex at Settler’s Creek addition.

Apartment feature 7-24

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — By a 3-2 vote, the Wellington City Council approved at its July 15 meeting the rezoning of property and the re-platting of land that will pave way for a proposed 40-unit apartment complex called Wedgewood Apartments to be located at the northeast corner of the Settler’s Creek addition, west of Woodlawn Apartments and south of U.S. 160.

Jim Moore of Affordable Housing Group/Zimmerman Properties of Springfield, Mo. indicated the company will go ahead with the construction of the complex after receiving approval of tax credits from the Kansas Housing Resource Corporation in May and the council’s approval two weeks ago. In January 2014, Moore told the council he wants to build one, two and three bedroom apartments ranging from $450 to $750 monthly rent. It will be an estimated $5 million investment.

Wedgewood Apartment proposal.

Wedgewood Apartment proposal.

Of the three proposed apartment complexes in Wellington in January, the Wedgewood Apartments complex appears to be the only one that is progressing forward. Jeff Van Sickle of Wellington has proposed a 192-unit apartment complex adjacently east of Wal-Mart. But according to city sources, that project is currently on hold as the group has not been able to procure enough local investment. 

Sunday blog: Talking California, fireworks, Republican revolt, Neighbors movie and Quinn’s thoughts…

Five Cueball thoughts

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Five Cueball thoughts for July 27, 2014…

1. California…

You may have noticed Sumner Newscow ran a little slow last week. That’s because SN headquarters along with my daughter and a friend took off to California for a few days.

We got to see this Beverly Hills sign before they charged us for looking.

We got to see this Beverly Hills sign before they charged us for looking.

There’s a lot to like about California. The weather, the beautiful women, the food.

Trouble is, now that I have returned home, I need a second job – because I was most certainly fleeced.

For example, I checked into a hotel near Disneyland last week and while the room was well beyond triple figures – the city of Anaheim and the state of California knocked on an 18 percent lodging tax on the bill… Eighteen percent!!!

We spent a day at Disneyland where they say all your dreams come true. Yeah, I believe them. I’m having nightmares about next month’s credit card bill. 

Sunday feature: Michelle and Makayla Brownlee come home with a big trophy and an International championship

Brownlee feature 7-27-14

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Brownlee family decided to rent a car and drive to the 39th annual Quibica International Family Bowling Tournament in Rockford, Ill. last weekend. It turned out to be a very wise decision. How else could they bring home the five-foot tall 18-pound first-place trophy?

There are bowling trophies. And then there is this bowling trophy that towers just above 11-year-old Makayla’s head and over the shoulder’s of her mother Michelle in their home west of Wellington.

Makayla and Michelle Brownlee — a mother-daughter team representing Wellington’s Meadow Lanes — won the towering trophy last weekend when it bested 35 other parent/youth teams from 25 states and the U.S. Navy at the Don Carter Lanes in Rockford. Makayla, a Wellington sixth grader, also received a $5,000 scholarship from a share of a $70,000 scholarship pool for participants in the tournament.

The Brownlees pictured with the second place team.

The Brownlees pictured with the second place team.

The Brownlees took the fully paid trip to finish first by 12 pins beating out another Kansas team Brayil Bozarth and her dad, Brian, from Ness City 237-225. Suffice it to say, for being an International tournament, this tournament ended up being a battle for the Kansas State Championship.

Wellington City Manager job opening gets lots of interest

Sumner Newscow local news report

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Wellington City Manager vacancy left by Gus Collins in April most certainly did not go unnoticed.

The Wellington City Council received 53 applications for the manager’s position. However, Wellington Mayor Roger Stallbaumer cautioned that 15 resumes are probably legitimate.

Roger Stallbaumer

Roger Stallbaumer

“A lot of those are random resumes sent out for any job opening out there,” Stallbaumer said. “But I do anticipate we have some very qualified candidates in that bunch.”

But first comes the budget which the Wellington City Council will approve in August.

“The budget comes first,” Stallbaumer said. “We aren’t going to even think about filling the city manager position until we get the budget put together.”

The Wellington City Council has made one decision about the hiring process.

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