Category Archives: Featured

Crusader football preview: 20 things you need to know about the 2014 Crusader football team….

20 things to know about Crusaders

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Sumner County sports season officially begins Monday and that includes the Wellington Crusader football team. Here are 20 things you need to know about the 2014 Crusaders…

1. It starts today… The Wellington Crusaders, who have spent the summer in camps and PSQs, will “officially” start their season Monday. WHS head football coach Tyler Ryan is embarking on his third year at the helm and expects to have about 70 boys out there for the first day.   100 degrees

2. What to expect when you are expecting to play football… Well, typically, it will be no different than any other football player who has strapped on a Crusader uniform. Practice is 3:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Monday through Friday for the first week leading to the first inner squad scrimmage on Saturday. The weather? Sumner County has had a pleasant cool summer, but today temperatures are expected to rise to triple digits and stay that way all week.

3. The best time to preview the team … Traditionally, there are two dates the public can get a quick preview – outside looking from the road from afar on any practice night. Some have found the Saturday morning inner-squad scrimmage from 8:30 to 11 a.m. at the high school practice field facility to be a more telling sign of what the Crusaders might have in the season ahead even though they have had just two days of pads. Hamburger football scrimmage 2013

The Crusader hamburger scrimmage is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 28 at Sellers Park. But for pure football is concerned, it tends to be more of an exhibition. Coaches tend to hold things back in case some Augusta or Andale coach might be in the stands looking to pick up a few pointers. 

Sunday guest editorial: Wellington Police to crack down on drunk driving.

Guest editorial generic

Sumner Newscow note — The following is a guest editorial written by Tracy Heath, Wellington Police Chief. If you wish to submit a guest editorial or letter to the editor for Sunday, send it to

By Tracy Heath, WPD Chief — You Drink. You Drive. You Lose.

If you or someone you know occasionally drives after drinking alcohol be warned that during the period, August 15 through Labor Day, September 2, there will be additional enforcement of Kansas drunk driving and other traffic laws as Wellington Police Department participates in a crackdown with almost 150 other local police agencies and the Kansas Highway Patrol to educate about impaired driving and remove impaired drivers from the roadways.  Known as You Drink. You Drive. You Lose., the crackdown is underwritten by a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT).

It is not uncommon in Kansas for 61 persons to be injured and 3 persons killed every day on Kansas roads in alcohol-related crashes.  According to KDOT, if you are involved in such a crash – in any capacity – you are 2 1/2 times more likely to be injured and 4 1/2 times more likely to be seriously injured or killed than if you are involved in a crash in which alcohol is not determined to be a factor. The ratio of death to injury in alcohol-related crashes is almost four times higher than the death to injury ratio for non-alcohol related crashes.

I want this enforcement to remind drivers of several things:

USD 353 board knocks 11 mills off of next year’s budget; bond sale better than expected; more

School board meeting roundup

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Thanks to a Kansas State Supreme Court ruling forcing the Kansas State Legislature to provide more school funding, the Wellington school board approved a budget that will decrease USD 353’s tax levy by 11 mills compared to the year before.

The board unanimously approve a budget that calls for 52.417 mills for the fiscal 2014-15 school year. In 2013-14 the board had to increase the mills by .9 to 63.37 mills.

The decrease was due by the court ruling in May forcing the legislature to fund the state’s school district’s supplemental and capital outlay budgets.

But Wellington Superintendent Rick Weiss warned that this good news is temporary and this is likely to be the calm before the storm, as state revenue projections in the next couple years are expected to plummet statewide as the Brownback experiment comes to fruition. 

Hercules playing at Wellington Regent this weekend

Wellington Regent this weekend

This week at the Regent Theater: “Hercules” (Movie trailer is below).

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

Rated: PG-13. Time: 1 hour and 39 minutes

Movie Synopsis: Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’ film HERCULES, starring Dwayne Johnson, bows on July 25th. Based on Radical Comics’ Hercules by Steve Moore, this ensemble-action film is a revisionist take on the classic myth, HERCULES.

Sumner County Court Docket: Wednesday, Aug. 13 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. All citizens are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


Tyson Hodson, formerly of Wellington, is charged with 2 counts of arson

Sumner Newscow local news report

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Tyson Hodson, born in 1996, formerly of Wellington and now a resident of Atwood, Kans. has been charged with two counts of arson, level 7 non-person felonies in Sumner County District Court.

Tyson Hodson

Tyson Hodson

In a district court complaint filed by Sumner County Attorney Kerwin Spencer, Hodson is accused on two separate occasions of setting approximately 56 large hay bales on fire about two miles southwest of the Wellington Municipal Airport in a field belonging to Sumner County farmers Martin Rusk and John Rogers without their consent in May.

Hodson, a 2014 Wellington High School graduate, was arrested on the above charges in Rawlins County located in northwestern Kansas on Aug. 6. He was then bonded on Aug. 7 on a $5,000 appearance bond. Hodson is to appear in court in Atwood on Aug. 28, at 9 a.m.

Hodson is accused of using a road flare and a signal flare to set several hay bales on fire on two separate occasions in a field at the intersection of 30th Avenue and Ridge Road.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Royals are red hot question








The Royals are red hot and in the playoff race in August. How do you feel?

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The Sumner Newscow “All-event-Wellington-School” calendar

Sumner Newscow All things school Calendar

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The following are a list of school events for Wellington USD 353.

Tuesday, August 12

Wellington Fall Sports Parents Meeting – at Wellington Middle School, 7 p.m. at the Wellington Little Theater.


Wednesday, August 13

New Teacher In-service Day, starts 8 a.m.

•Life of an Athlete – “Code Night”, 6:30 p.m. – 2014-2015 Crusader Athletes sign code of conduct “Crusader Committed.” This is a mandatory meeting for athletes. 

Wellington resident Michael Cody expresses dismay with railroad blockage of intersections

Case of railroad crossing

By Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Michael Cody of Wellington lives at 616 S. Washington Ave. and for years he has lived with the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe trains passing near his home.

This weekend Cody sent an e-mail letter to members of the Wellington City Council, State Rep. Kyle Hoffman, and Burlington Northern – Santa Fe officials expressing his concerns with the dangers of trains sitting on the railroad tracks blocking public traffic intersections within the Wellington City Council.

He had asked that Sumner Newscow re-publish the letter for the public. We have granted his request.

Dear sirs:

The reason I am writing this letter is to let all concerned parties of the problem that we have in Wellington, KS. I have contacted the State of Kansas, City of Wellington, BNSF and also the FRA. With all of my attempted efforts I have received no help regarding this matter! Under Kansas statute 66-273, the BNSF uses Wellington as its yard which I believe is not the intent of the statute. 

Cueball’s blog: Talking election afterthoughts, Brownback vs. Davis, fluoridation of Wellington’s water and more

Five Cueball thoughts

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Five Cueball thoughts for Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014…


1. Low voter turnout…

It was a rather strange election. When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a ruling that put limitations on campaign finance it allowed politicians the ability to spend as much money as they so pleased. That’s why you saw a campaign commercial nearly every moment touting the joys of one candidate over the evils of the other, who loves Obamacare.

A picture of the Raymond Frye Complex last Tuesday.

A picture of the Raymond Frye Complex last Tuesday.

Yet for all the bombastic rhetoric, voters basically shrugged their shoulders. Only 19 percent in Sumner County registered voters made it to the polls. It wasn’t much difference elsewhere.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure myself whether I would go to the polls, and only cast a vote, because I was at the election booth doing a story on election turnout.

Sumner County Court Docket: Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014

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. All citizens are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


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;

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