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Category Archives: Featured

Sunday blog: Why is airing out our dirty laundry on TV such a good idea for Wellington?

Five Cueball thoughts

Zombie being interviewed in Wellington

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — I googled the “Jerry Springer Show” before writing this editorial. I legitimately wondered if the show known for barbaric people throwing chairs at one another was still on TV. According to the trusty Wikipedia page, it most certainly is. It has been on for 25 years and is still going strong. Wow, 25 years.

Jerry SpringerThe reason I bring up Jerry Springer, a show I rarely think about and God forbid actually watch, is it serves as a metaphor. It is the ultimate public humiliation show. It sets people up to look foolish in front of millions for their viewing pleasure. There are people who want attention, and there are plenty out there willing to let them have it.

I tend to think in some ways when a Wichita television station news truck pulls into Wellington to do a “fact finder” or a “news on your side” expose, Wellington, as a whole, is about took look like those saps on the Springer show. There is something rotten happening in Wellington. And the rest of the state needs to know about it.

This week, a news story surfaced on Wichita TV about our high utility rates. That is a legitimate concern and people have reason to complain. But my problem isn’t the subject matter as it is becoming a statewide news story. The routine is always the same whether it be no more horses in the parade, a silly football skirmish, or the hospital closing when it is not. Newscasts are single dimensional. A TV reporter talks to about three or four individuals, including someone “on the street” who usually has little idea what the subject matter is about, leaves town, edits the story and puts it on the news broadcast later that evening.

There rarely is a follow up, or if the problem has been solved.

And I’m usually perplexed. Why would someone in Salina care about Wellington’s high utility rates? Where is the statewide news interest? Do I care if say, they have high utility rates in Garden City?

Sunday analysis: Was the immediate naming of Shane Shields as city manager a good thing for Wellington?

Sumner Newscow analysis

by James Jordan, Sumner NewscowThe Wellington City Council could hire Shane Shields to be its next city manager at its meeting Tuesday. At its last meeting in somewhat of a surprise move, the council voted to hire Shields contingent on negotiating a contract. The issue of city manager is not on the agenda that was released Friday, but there is an executive session on the agenda to do the negotiations.

Shane Shields

Shane Shields

Mayor Shelley Hansel said it is possible they could come out of executive session and vote to hire Shields and make it official. They could also continue the negotiations and make the official move at a later time.

At the last regular meeting council member Vince Wetta surprised his fellow council members by making a motion to hire Shields. That came as they were discussing whether to hire the league of municipalities to run a search and help them hire a city manager at a cost of about $6,000.

At a work session the week before the council had talked about the issue, and whether they should just go ahead and hire Shields instead of going through the search. Three council members expressed an interest in hiring Shields instead of doing the search, but other members wanted to do the search anyway, even though almost all said they thought Shields might well emerge as the top candidate.

Kelly Hawley quote 8-13-16Shields is the current interim city manager, and served in that capacity a couple of years ago when the city was searching for city manager that resulted in the hiring of Roy Eckert. The council dismissed Eckert a few months ago and was faced with looking for a manager again.

The motion by Wetta passed by a  4-2 vote. Kip Etter and Kelly Hawley voted no. Etter seemed upset and left the meeting abruptly and did not return. He also missed the next work session meeting, but was celebrating his anniversary with his wife. He has not responded to questions about leaving the meeting. Hawley also left, but returned moments later.

Hawley said later it was a “huge surprise” that the motion was made to hire Shields, especially when a consensus had been reached at an earlier meeting to go through the process of taking applications with the league of municipalities running the search.

Sears Hometown Store red hot 3-day Family & Friends Sale starts Sunday

Sears Family & Friends Sale Feature 8-11-16

Extended hours for this sale:

Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Click here for larger version.

New 3day family friends Sears 8-11

Lancy Lough pleads not guilty on 3 felony charges stemming from alleged domestic incident in May

Sumner County Court Docket updates

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow  Lancy Lough, 53, Wellington has pled not guilty on three felony charges including aggravated kidnapping for an alleged domestic incident occuring May 4.

Sumner County Attorney Kerwin Spencer said a jury trial is scheduled in district court on Nov. 8.

Lancy Lough

Lancy Lough

The county attorney’s office has also filed two more charges against Lough, including rape, a level 1 felony; and aggravated criminal sodomy, also a level 1 felony. The amended court complaint was filed on August 2. In the original complaint, Lough was facing just one level one felony count – considered the most severe penalty of an alleged crime – as well as three misdemeanors. He now faces three level one felonies as well as three misdemeanors.

Lough is accused of holding a 41-year-old woman against her will, physically assaulting her during an incident that occurred in the early morning hours. She was transported to Sumner Regional Medical Center where she was treated for injuries.

According to the original criminal complaint, Lough used “force, threat, or deception, with the intent to hold such person kidnapped and to inflict bodily injury or terrorize said victim.”

Wellington School Board contemplates rebuilding high school track — but maybe not before next year

USD school board meeting report

by James Jordan, Sumner NewscowThe Wellington School board heard two proposals for a new track at the middle school, at the regular meeting Thursday night. They will likely hear from one more before making a final decision, but a new track is expected to cost more than $300,000.

After hearing from two companies, there seemed to be a consensus that it would be best to take out the existing  track and replace it completely, rather than just repairing it. A track that was completely replaced would last 20 years or more, and repairs would be costly and not last nearly that long.

Replacing it would involve taking out the asphalt and or concrete, and going down to the stone or dirt underneath. They would put in a base of stone, and then concrete, topped with asphalt and then the modern softer surface.

Both of the presenters said that just taking off the top and replacing that would only last a few years and would not address structural and drainage problems that currently exist.

(Updated, Friday 9 p.m.) Wellington USD 353 will have 6 new teachers when students return to school Aug. 23

Wellington school USD353 news

(Updated information on Tim Lira biography is below).

by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow — The Wellington school district has six new teachers this year for kindergarten through 12th grade. As the new school year approaches, several new faces will be seen within the district.

Chelsea Urban – Spanish – Wellington High School

Chelsea Urban

Chelsea Urban

Chelsea Urban, of Mayfield, will begin the year as the new Spanish teacher at Wellington High School.

She is a Wellington High School graduate, and earned her Bachelor of Art in Spanish from K-State in 2011. In 2013, she earned her Masters in Second Language Acquisition/Spanish from K-State.

Urban taught Spanish for three years at K-State while earning her graduate degree, then moved to Spain, where she taught English at three different high schools in Santiago de Compostela and Jerez de la Frontera. She also helped teach math, science, history and music classes in English while in Spain. She just moved back to the United States in June.

“It’s an opportunity to share my passion for languages and traveling all around the world,” Urban said.

Traci Hawks – 8th Grade Algebra & Pre-Algebra – Wellington Middle School

Garage Sales for this weekend…

Garage sale templete use this one

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The following are the garage sales that we have for the weekend of August 12-14, 2016. If you still need a garage sale advertised just use the comment section below. Good luck with bargain hunting! 

Ice Age Collision Course at Wellington Regent this weekend; Original Ghostbusters soon

Ice Age in Wellington Regent

Wellington Regent - Ice Age

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Olympics viewing question

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How much of the Olympics are you watching?

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Sailfish season ends; Jensen Lynnes and Nash Oswald finish up in state meet

Wrapping up the season

Wellington Sailfish graphic

by Bliss Baird, Sumner Newscow correspondent — It’s time to face the unavoidable fact that summer is drawing to a close. There are few better indicators of the close of (almost) everyone’s favorite season than the last swim meet. I regret to announce that Missouri Valley Championships, the final meet of Wellington’s season, occurred this Thursday, Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday in Lawrence. At the same time, it’s impossible to feel bad about the meet given the performance of the Sailfish who competed.

First, some background information. As the length of the meet suggests, Championships is giant. Every team in the Missouri Valley region (Kansas and Missouri) can send qualifying members, meaning that the Sailfish who practice in a six-lane, 25-meter pool compete against the fastest of the fast from the Wichita-area year-round clubs, the massive Kansas City teams, and Columbia Swim Club, which practices in the University of Missouri’s breathtaking facility, just to name a few.

**Catch this Wellington Swim Team video by Samson Ledesma!** 

Nash Oswald did not let the competition or the fact that he was entered in the maximum number of events slow him down. His premier race proved to be the 100 back. In his first-ever long-course attempt, he secured fourth place! Nash placed 16th in the 100 breast with a time of 1:57.01, and his 200 free set a new Wellington record! He cut over three seconds in his 50 back, cut a hundredth of a second in the 50 free, placing eighteenth, and placed twenty-first on the 50 fly. The 100 free rounded out his seven events.

Wellington City Council concedes to build water line to Mayfield residence

Wellington City Council news

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow The Wellington City Council reached a consensus to build a water line to get into compliance with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment stipulations, and to provide water to the people who allow the city to use their land to get water out of the ground. The agreement was hashed out at a work session Monday night.

The council is likely to vote on the matter soon, but it may not be the next meeting which is set for next week. It could be the first meeting in September.

The line could cost as much as $385,000, but city officials said that was a worst case scenario price, and it should be considerably less than that, so that is just a ballpark figure.

For 50 years the city of Wellington has drawn water from landowners in the Mayfield area. The deal was those people would get free water from the city’s line in exchange. According to state law, the state actually owns the water, and not the property owner or the city.

The KDHE, based on federal rules, said the city could no longer allow people to use untreated water, so a new solution has been sought to get the city in compliance. Ironically enough, those people can drill wells and get their own untreated water without any issue.

Sunday feature: Can the building on Washington and Lincoln be saved?

Sunday feature

107 W. Lincoln building on Washington

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — Wellington city building inspector Richard Jack is hopeful the building on the corner of Washington and Lincoln in Wellington can be saved. It is more than 100 years old, and has held up well, but recently serious problems developed. So much so that it could fall down, city officials say.

Either the owners, or the city, will very soon get a company to come from Wichita to do some stabilization work that should keep it from falling down.

Jack said the top popped out and it started collapsing, and it happened quickly. The owners notified the city, and the tenant, and roped the building off.

“This and that happened all of a sudden for whatever reason,” he said. Jack said he was not saying earthquakes caused the damage, but it could have been a factor.

Building at 107 W. Lincoln has been deemed an ‘immediate hazard’ by the council

Wellington City Council Roundup

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — The Wellington City Council declared the building at 107 W. Lincoln an “immediate hazard” at its meeting Tuesday. The building that housed Redbeard’s Barber Shop on Washington and Lincoln Streets, has been roped off for a couple of weeks after the building’s owner got an engineers report that showed the building  is in very bad condition.

More cones and barricades surrounds the building known as "Lincoln Place" this week.

Building at 107 W. Lincoln.

The city will hire a Wichita company to stabilize the building, using steel posts and plates. Wellington city building official Richard Jack estimated it could cost $3,000 to $5,000. The city is waiting to receive another engineer’s report that will give them more specific information.

Mayor Shelley Hansel said she hopes the building can be saved.

Jack said the building is an immediate hazard. He said it is not likely to fall down in the next day or two, but it could within a month’s time if stabilization measures are not taken. He said the entire building is not damaged. It is just the southeast corner, but that has damaged the structure enough to make the three-story building weak enough to fall down.

Sumner Sheriff: criminal investigation launched on Sedgwick Sheriff deputy for excessive force

Sumner Newscow news report

by Darren Chambers, Sumner County Sheriff — On Tuesday, August 2, 2016, Summer County Sheriff’s Office contacted the Sedgwick County Sheriff Office about an alleged Sedgwick County Sheriff’s deputy using excessive force while preparing to transport an inmate from Sumner County back to Sedgwick County.  This was after Sumner County jail staff witnessed what they believe to be excessive force. The alleged incident occurred on Monday, August 1, 2016.

Summer County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a criminal investigation into this alleged incident as it occurred in Sumner County.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The permanent city manager question

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Do you approve of making Shane Shields the permanent Wellington City Manager?

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Anita Judd-Jenkins unseats Kasha Kelley in 80th District

Sumner County Election

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — In the lone locally contested race in Sumner County, Anita Judd-Jenkins unseated Kasha Kelley, for the Republican nomination of the 80th District. Judd-Jenkins scored the victory with a 1,283 vote tally to Kelley’s 1,143. The victory margin was 52.8 percent to 47.2.

Anita Judd-Jenkins

Anita Judd-Jenkins

Sumner County, which took longer to tally the votes, would push the Ark City business woman over the top with 405 votes to Kelly’s 283 with 58.87 to 41.13 percent winning margin.

This was the only local Republican race. All Sumner County Republican incumbents were unopposed. There were no contested Democrat races and the 116th District which encompasses much of western Sumner County is still left to be played out between Republican incumbent Kyle Hoffman and Democrat challenger Jo Roitman. 

Suddenly… Shane Shields is hired permanent Wellington City Manager

Wellington City Council Roundup

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — In somewhat of a surprise move the Wellington City Council voted to hire Shane Shields as its next Wellington City Manager, contingent upon negotiating a contract. The council will meet in executive session in its next regular meeting to hash out the details of the contract.

Shane Shields

Shane Shields

The motion was approved by a 4-2 count with Kip Etter and Kelly Hawley voting no. Immediately after the vote Etter left the room quickly and did not return. Shortly after that Hawley left too but came back soon.

Contacted after the meeting, Etter said  “I feel that it is best that I refrain from comments at this time.”

The issue came up as the city was talking about signing a contract with the state League of Municipalities to help them in a search for a city manager. At  a recent work session council members were having second thoughts about signing the contract and spending $6,000 to have the league manage the search.

Kip Etter

Kip Etter

Wetta said he had expressed reservations about hiring the league. He said he had thought about this a lot since then.

“I have let things go in the past and then regretted it, So I am going to do this and we can discuss it,” he said.

Sumner Commissioners take no action on mail-in proposal, will take sales tax question to voters in November

Commissioners say no to mail in

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Sumner County Commissioners took no action on a request by Cowley County Community College to vote on a sales tax referendum through a mail-in ballot sometime in early 2017. Instead, the question will go on the ballot this November.

The ballot question will ask whether or not Sumner County voters will pay a half-cent sales tax to help construct a Cowley College-Wellington Campus. The campus hopes to be open by early 2018 (see story here).

“Our position has been the same from the start,” said Steve Warner, Sumner County Commissioner. “We want to have the input of the largest representation of Sumner County.”

Sumner County voters will have two sales tax questions on the ballot. The first will include the renewal of the half-cent sales tax for rural healthcare services, the Sumner Mental Health Center and the Sumner County Health Department.

The second will be the Cowley College proposal.

Cowley College brings Wellington campus proposal to the public in 2 Monday forums

Talking Cowley
Dennis Rittle at Cowley forum

Dr. Dennis Rittle at Cowley College community forum in Wellington Monday.

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Using a combination of business opportunity for Cowley County Community College, and a need for higher learning opportunities within the confines of Sumner County, a proposal is on the table to open a Wellington campus.

Dr. Dennis Rittle, President of Cowley College, said he hopes to have a Cowley College – Wellington Campus by the spring of 2018.

Rittle was the featured speaker at two community forums Monday at the Wellington High School auditorium. The forum brought in about 115 people combined — 50 in the morning and 65 in the evening.

Cowley College is proposing to initially build a two or three building facility in Wellington, location unknown at this time, that would work seamlessly with its three other facilities in Mulvane, Winfield and its main campus in Arkansas City.

Kelley vs. Judd-Jenkins heads Sumner County primary; but for the most part it will be a quiet election

Sumner County Election

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Kansas State Primary will be held tomorrow. For the most part it will be a rather quiet election in Sumner County. All the county incumbents are unopposed in the races for county commissioner, attorney, register of deeds, clerk, sheriff, and treasurer.

Anita Judd-Jenkins

Anita Judd-Jenkins

Kasha Kelley

Kasha Kelley

The lone notable local race in Sumner County will be for the State Representative District #80 race on the Republican side. Challenger Anita Judd-Jenkins is running against State Rep. Kasha Kelley. District 80 encompasses the south part Sumner County and the eastern half of Wellington with C Street being the dividing line. For detail of the house district, click here.

For an example of the ballot you will be voting in tomorrow, click here.

Voting locations in Sumner County are as follows: 

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