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Category Archives: Featured

Wellington Combined Trade Board passes new code regulations to the dismay of some landlords

Wellington City Council meeting report

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — By a 9-2 vote, the Wellington City Combined Trade Board sent to the council a recommendation for approval of the 2015 International Code and a list of proposed city ordinances. The Wellington City Council will make a final decision at an unspecified later date.

However, many landlords are upset that the new codes are too restrictive and will create additional costs when improving or maintaining their rental property.

The issue came to a head Monday evening during a 90 minute discussion at the council chambers that pitted licensed trade contractors against the landlords in attendance.

Upon the conclusion of the discussion, the 11-member Combined Trade Board made up of two mechanical, plumbing, electrical, and building contractors along with two representatives of “resident at large” took the vote. The nine contractors voted for the proposed changes, the two resident representatives, Tim Fairbanks and Kenny Moore, voted no.

Now it goes into the hands of the Council which will make the final decision. The combined trade board only serves as an advisory commission to the council and can’t make law (see definition of board and its membership here).

Kansas Legislature gears up for contentious session ahead; Hoffman says much rides on what happens nationally

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by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — The Kansas State Legislature begins the 2017 legislative session today, and will be facing budget shortfalls and school finance issues.

During the primary season voters ousted some conservatives and voted in moderates in what appeared to be a shift of power. Even so, the November national election which went overwhelmingly conservative, may have an effect on the Kansas Statehouse.

The political landscape for Sumner County has changed somewhat as well. Moderate Republican Anita Judd Jenkins of Arkansas City unseated conservative Kasha Kelley in the primary and then won the general election.

At the state senate level, Larry Alley of Winfield won the District 32 seat which had been vacated by Steve Abrams who chose to not run again.

Ed Trimmer of Winfield represents parts of Sumner County and is now the senior member for Sumner County at the statehouse.

Pete DeGraaf, an incumbent Republican, is the other representative that has some of Sumner County in his district.

———

State Rep. Kyle Hoffman, R-Coldwater, believes the national election results will have a big effect on the session this year.

Wellington Police Notes: Friday, Jan. 6 – Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017

Police Report

WPD Wellington police notes logo

Wellington Police Notes: Friday, Jan. 6 – Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017:

Sunday Blog: Wrap it up

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The Wellington Regent in the background has been adversely affected by road closing.

The Wellington Regent in the background has been adversely affected by road closing.

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Lincoln Place fiasco needs to be wrapped up as soon as possible, and if it means the demolishing of a century old building, so be it.

Tracy "Cueball" McCue

Tracy “Cueball” McCue

The Wellington City Council has been more than patient with the owners of the embattled building on Lincoln and Washington after water flowed through the building on July 14, 2016 due to large amounts of precipitation. Since then the road has been closed because of the fear of building collapse. I’d venture to say if that building did fall down, drivers on Lincoln Street would not be the only ones in peril.

I’m not here to point fingers on what should have, or shouldn’t have been done to save this building, but the fact we are in the middle of January and the road is still closed for six months, is testimony that bureaucracy is live and well in Wellington, Kans. One can pass judgment on either the property owner, the insurance company, the Wellington City staff, or the city council — but it doesn’t matter. The problem is not solved.

To me it’s a problem when Wellington has a legitimate business such as the Regent Theater, whose whole dependency is on foot traffic, is hurt due to a situation that is not the fault of their own.

In the original article this week, someone had asked a legitimate question, “I’m sorry, but how hard is it to go around?”

Despite late game surge, Wellington falls to defeat against Clearwater 53-49

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A.J. Snipes takes on Kale Mills in Wellington-Clearwater battle.

A.J. Snipes takes on Kale Mills in Wellington-Clearwater battle.

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — It has been a tough week for the Crusaders. Tuesday, the Wellington boys lost by two to Mulvane. On Friday, Wellington lost to Clearwater 53-49 in a game that wasn’t decided until the final four seconds.

Both games were ones Wellington had hoped and could have won.

The Crusaders now must travel to the always overwhelming Wichita Collegiate school sitting at 1-3 in the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League Div. IV and 2-5 overall.

“We decided not to play for 2 1/2 quarters and it cost us,” said Rick Roitman, Wellington head boys basketball coach. “When we decided to run our offense, and do the things that we practiced, we did pretty well and whittled it down to two.”

At the 7 minute mark of the fourth quarter, Wellington was down 39-31 before the Crusaders went on a 12-6 run to pull within two with a little more than a minute to play. 

(Updated) Wellington girls bury winless Clearwater 59-17

Crusader nights
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Tayland French was the leading scorer for Wellington as Lady Dukes cruised to victory.

by Tracy McCue, Summer Newscow — The Wellington girls are starting to get themselves on a roll as they destroyed Clearwater 59-17 Friday.

Using a tenacious press, Clearwater was no match for the stifling Wellington defense. Clearwater opened the game scoring eight points, and trailing by three at the four minute mark of the first quarter.

But after a Wellington coach Eric Adams timeout, the Crusaders implemented a 2-3 full-court blitz and Clearwater never had a chance thereafter.

“We are starting to play Lady Crusader defense,” Eric Adams, Wellington head girls basketball coach. “We saw a little of it against Rose Hill and have used it against Mulvane and Clearwater. 

Wellington City Council re-ups Kansas Power Pool contract; approves chemical bids…

Wellington City Council meeting report

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — What will the year 2032 be like? How about 2052?

There are a lot of things that could happen, but the City of Wellington is still likely to be part of the Kansas Power Pool – a consortium of Kansas municipalities that “provides electric utilities in the state with the opportunity to combine electric resources, load and other abilities to better serve their communities.”

“The power pool is intended to give Kansas utilities more leverage with other regional pools to compete for the purchase of electric power,” KPP organizers said when the organization was formed in 1995.

The Wellington Council voted unanimously to “pledge” its support as a member of the KPP for another 20 years, which is set to expire in 2032. Wellington was one of the original six municipalities in the consortium, which has now expanded to 31 municipal cities. Wellington, along with Augusta and Winfield, are the largest cities.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The driverless car question

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Passengers playing at Regent this week; Breakfast at Tiffany’s next week…

PASSENGERS

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This week at the Regent Theater: “Passengers”

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

ALSO: Breakfast at Tiffany’s will be shown on Second Thursday Classic Day: January 12, 2 and 7 p.m.

Information about “Passengers” movie…

Feature film rating: PG-13 (for sexuality, nudity and action/peril).

Time: 1 hour 26 minutes.

Movie Synopsis: Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt star in an exciting action-thriller about two passengers who are on a 120-year journey to another planet when their hibernation pods wake them 90 years too early. Jim and Aurora are forced to unravel the mystery behind the malfunction as the ship teeters on the brink of collapse, with the lives of thousands of passengers in jeopardy.

Virginia Swecker named interim principal at Lincoln Elementary

Sumner Newscow local news report
Virginia Swecker

Virginia Swecker

Sumner Newscow report — Virginia Swecker, a long-time Wellington resident and area educator, will serve as the Lincoln Interim Principal for the remainder of the school year.

Swecker will replace John Walton, who resigned before Christmas break. She has taught both regular and special education and has served in a variety of administrative positions including Director of Special Education Inter Local 619 in Wellington, and Interim Director of Special Education in Haysville.

The district is currently receiving applications to fill the Lincoln principalship for the 2017-18 school year.

Mayor warns if Lincoln Place situation isn’t solved soon, we could lose Regent theater

Wellington City Council meeting report
The Wellington Regent in the background has been adversely affected by road closing.

The Wellington Regent in the background has been adversely affected by road closing.

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — We are approaching the six-month anniversary of the disaster that befell the Lincoln Place building on Washington and Lincoln on July 14, 2016, yet the issue remains unresolved.

And it could cost the community its movie theater.

Wellington Mayor Shelley Hansel said the Wellington Regent Theater, which is situated catty corner of the condemned building, has been losing significant amount of business since the street closure. Her statement was later confirmed by Jerry Fike, the business manager of the town’s lone movie theater.

“I think all the business owners in the area are frustrated and tired of the situation,” Hansel said. “But the Regent is especially hurt because they rely on foot traffic. For whatever reason people aren’t coming because of the situation downtown. The other night I was at a movie with 40 people there. It should have been 100.”

Still, the council took no action, upon the recommendation of new city attorney Shawn DeJarnett.

“I think my biggest concern is the city’s liability,” DeJarnett said. “If you were to take down the barricades, and something were to happen — say a brick falls and hits a car — then the city is going to be sued.”

Wellington girls dominate; boys lose late; JVers play; Conway Springs boys roll…

Sumner County basketball news

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Wellington varsity girls returned from Christmas break with a vengeance. The Wellington boys were not as fortunate. Conway Springs and Belle Plaine also got back on the hardwood as high school basketball season restart.

Girls: Wellington 57 Mulvane 33

An 18-2 second quarter output got the Lady Dukes back to .500 and gave them their first Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Div. IV win of the season.

Wellington led Mulvane 11-10 at the end of the first quarter before going on a tear to lead 29-12 at the half. The Crusaders would expand the lead to 14-8 in the third and ended the game on a running clock.

Three girls were in double figures including Lauryn Snipes with 15., Tayland French 13 and Shayland French 12.

Grass fire east of Wellington burns hay bales, 600 acres

fire report

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Sumner Newscow report — A grass fire got out of control at 2:57 p.m. on Dec. 30 at 930 E. 10th Avenue, east of the Exit 33 Kansas Turnpike Association gate.

Upon arrival, firefighters found a grass fire out of control, moving rapidly to the north due to high winds. It was burning around hay bales and a structure when they arrived. The grass fire proceeded to burn 600 acres and move almost two miles north before it was under control at 5:31 p.m. Firefighters remained on site until 7:50 p.m.

Kevin Beggs was the owner/occupant of the property. According to the Wellington Fire/EMS press release, he was burning trash at the time when the fire spread due to the wind. There was an estimated $2,500 loss to hay bales in the area.

The best 2016 Sumner Newscow photos and videos…

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by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Sure it is now 2017, but here is our favorite photos and videos of 2016. If it seems like it is heavy in sports that’s because the best images are usually in sports! Special thanks to Sumner Newscow contributors Eric Rinehart, James Jordan and Amber Schmitz for photos and Samson Ledesma for videos. (Videos are below photos)…

Jamie Cornejo was all smiles after being named Duke of Wellington. His escort was Alexis Hinman.

Julian Cornejo is all smiles after being named Duke of Wellington. His escort is Alexis Hinman.

WHS Senior Madi Adams holds the Washington Monument in her hands as group of students take the Mike Wilmoth history trip to Washington D.C.

WHS Senior Madi Adams holds the Washington Monument in her hands as group of students take the Mike Wilmoth history trip to Washington D.C.

Heavyweight Miguel Lujan gets a state tournament berth in regional in February.

Heavyweight Miguel Lujan gets a state tournament berth in regional in February.

Wellington girls win on the last second in state tournament third place game.

Wellington girls win on the last second in state tournament third place game much to the chagrin of this Labette County player. 

100 things that happened in Sumner County in 2016

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by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Think nothing goes on in Sumner County? Here’s 100 news items which occurred in 2016.

– Two-car four-person fatality accident on U.S. 81 at 9-mile corner claims life of Ray and Marcia Waugh and Tim and Cheryl Baumgartner.tragic-accident-2-couples

– Lancy Lough charged with aggravated kidnapping.

– City Council fires City Manger Roy Eckert after stormy 19-month tenure.

– Kip Etter verbally says he’s resigning, then says he doesn’t, Mayor tells him step down, he eventually retains seat.

– Principal John Walton resigns from Lincoln Elementary at semester break.

– Wellington resident Jessica Burnett convicted of sex scandal involving minor.

– Jason Schoemann not charged with Sunday Morning stabbing in altercation with son.

Antonio Pronto, a chef from Venice, Italy, opens the family owned business this weekend.

Antonio Pronto, a chef from Venice, Italy, opens the family owned Bravos.

– Bravo’s Italian Bistro opens in November after Rocco’s closes suddenly in January.

– Tyler Ryan resigns as Wellington head football coach after four years. Native Zane Aguilar hired.

– Lincoln Place building condemned by council. Its status currently is in limbo.

– Wellington City Attorney Mike Brown resigns. Shawn Dejarnett named as replacement.

2016 story of the year: The dysfunctional Wellington City Council

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by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — 2016 was nuts. We know on a national level, this year defied description.

But I’d venture to say it was one of the craziest years on the local level as well.

We had tragedy, unusual sex scandals, wild local election races, earthquakes, extremely successful sports teams and extremely unsuccessful sports teams. And, depending what happens in the future, Sumner County voters may have pulled off the story of the decade by passing a half-cent sales tax referendum to build a Cowley County Community College in Sumner Campus. And as if it was a two-for-one-special, the Bill and Marjorie Short family donated 18 acres of land to build the campus east of Wellington Wal-Mart.

Even so, while that may be the story of the decade, it isn’t my story of the year. For me, the story of 2016 was the dysfunctional Wellington City Council.

Perhaps, my years of covering local government over a span of three decades has made me expect a few things. Municipal councils and school boards are like the weather. Most generally, they are partly cloudy or sunny with an occasional thunderstorm.

But the Wellington City Council in 2016 was an out-and-out tornado. I have never seen anything like it.

———

It started in January with the sudden approval of the $226,000 computer irrigation system for the Wellington golf course for the during a special meeting in late January.

2016 Feature: The approval of Cowley College Sumner Campus is the leading story of the past year

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Dennis Rittle, President of Cowley County Community College, during a forum last summer promoting the idea of a Sumner Campus.

Dennis Rittle, President of Cowley County Community College, during a forum last summer promoting the idea of a Sumner Campus.

James Jordan

James Jordan

by James Jordan, Sumner NewscowThere are stories and events that grab attention, and there are other stories that are significant to an area. While thinking over the past year, I thought about what might be the most significant stories of the year for Wellington and the Sumner County area. These are stories that are likely to shape our future, or that will have an impact for years to come.

The development of a Cowley College campus in Wellington is certainly the most significant development of the past year. The pieces had to be put in place, and they were. If things go according to plan, this is a potential game changer for the city. Even though ground has not been broken, there is talk of developers looking to build houses here. It’s been awhile since such talk was made in Wellington.

cowley-college-logoThis story had several developments. First Cowley College had to pick Wellington, and it was an obvious choice for them as the school was looking to expand westward to fill a niche.

Secondly, the voters had to approve a sales tax to help finance the operation, and with other issues on the ballot and a general anti-tax sentiment, that was no small task. Sumner County residents did approve the sales tax, and that allowed the project to move forward. Cowley College is making a large commitment to the area, and they wanted people over here to make a commitment as well, hence the additional revenue through the sales tax.

The project involves building a campus and offering a wider array of classes, including industrial training. The project was given a boost when almost immediately after the election the Short Family donated the land that can be used to build the project. This saved a lot of money and a lot of time in getting the project going.

The pieces all fell into place, and it seems very likely that Wellington will soon have a Cowley College campus. This should bring in jobs, economic development as well as an influx of cash into the city. People rightfully say the city is losing population, which hurts the economy. This could cause an increase in population, or at least lessen the impact of a declining population in the area.

Airport expansion

Chris Miller offers free rides to impaired drivers this New Years Eve

Sumner Newscow local news report

by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow — Chris Miller has volunteered himself as a designated driver for those who have had too much alcohol to drink.

need-a-ride“With the holidays and being disabled now because of an amputation of my right leg, I decided that I wanted to be able to help people and make sure they go home to their family safe,” Miller said. “I also wanted to make sure they had a way back to their vehicle the next day.”

Chris Miller

Chris Miller

Miller believed this was a service that was needed here, since Wellington doesn’t offer a 24 hour cab service.

“It’s not up to the police department to make sure these people get home, so we need somebody, and I volunteered myself,” Miller said.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The wind farm in Sumner County question

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Sunday feature: From Oxford to the Super Bowl, Bruce DeHaven has been a proven winner

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DeHaven picture inside

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Bruce DeHaven, a former Oxford High School football coach, who would go on to coach special teams for the Buffalo Bills and Carolina Panthers, has died. He was 68.

DeHaven, who died Tuesday, Dec. 27, was head coach at Oxford from 1971 to 1973. He would then go on to coach at Wichita Southeast as a defensive specialist. Eventually he was hired on at the University of Kansas, New Mexico State, the USFL New Jersey Generals, the Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys Seattle Seahawks and eventually the Carolina Panthers. He coached his last game as a special teams coach in last year’s Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos.

Here is an article written on Jan. 31, 2016 titled: Sunday feature: From Oxford to the Super Bowl, Bruce DeHaven has been a proven winner …

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Next Sunday after the Star Spangled Banner is sung and the introductions are made, the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers will put their special teams units onto the field to kick off Super Bowl 50. Somewhere on the Panther sidelines will be a man who once resided in Oxford.

Bruce DeHaven, 67, is the head special teams coordinator for the Panthers. In some sense he is considered the guru of all special teams coaches in the NFL. His stops have been many and this won’t be his first Super Bowl. He has made stops with the Buffalo Bills, the Dallas Cowboys, the Seattle Seahawks among others. Along the way he has coached up some of the greatest special teams players in the business — like Steve Tasker.

DeHaven was there to witness his field goal kicker Scott Norwood miss a game winning field goal in the Super Bowl. He was there on the wrong end of The Music City Miracle when the Tennessee Titans.

DeHaven has been a national figure for over 30 years.

But before any of that happened, DeHaven would coach on every level of football. And at the very beginning, he was coaching an 11-man football team in a little Sumner County town called Oxford.

And one can argue that here is where the seed was planted.

The beginning…

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