Sumner NewsCow News and Sports for Sumner County Mon, 19 Nov 2018 14:19:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Local author, Kay Gehring, to host book signing at Oxford Public Library Mon, 19 Nov 2018 14:19:19 +0000

Kay Gehring

Sumner Newscow report — Oxford Public Library will be hosting a book signing for local author, Kay Gehring, on Saturday, November 24, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the library.

Kay, a special education teacher in the Oxford school district, has published three books for young readers, Adventures Through the Trees, Pig E. Bank, and Pearl the Squirrel, Queen of Shenanigans. They include her original artwork as well.  Kay’s inspiration for her writing career began by creating tales for her young grandchildren and her passion for sharing stories.

The books are especially enjoyable for children who struggle with reading.  The stories are sometimes humorous and sometimes touching, but all are filled with parts of Kay.

Believing in the power of storytelling, Kay wants to help children learn to love stories, whether being read to them or reading on their own.

This event coincides with Christmas in the Country, which begins at 10, and Santa Claus visiting Oxford at 10:30.

A limited amount of books will be available to purchase that morning, but they are also available online through Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  All are invited to stop by and enjoy some holiday refreshments and meet local children’s author, Kay Gehring.

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Centenarian Ruby Eschelman, 100, Caldwell: July 21, 1918 – Nov. 17, 2018 Sun, 18 Nov 2018 20:31:03 +0000

Ruby Eschelman

Ruby Thelma (Stewart) Eshelman, 100 years of age, of Caldwell, died November 17, 2018 at Sumner County Hospital District #1.  Ruby was born July 21, 1918 on a farm north of Renfrow, Okla. to Sam and Ina (Williams) Stewart.  She graduated from Caldwell High School in 1935.

She married Earl Eshelman December 11, 1937. They celebrated 73 years of marriage.

Ruby was a homemaker busy raising four boys and one girl, helping Earl on the farm, a 4-H leader, member of Eureka Star EHU, Spring Creek Cemetery Club and a member of the Caldwell Church of God.

After Earl and Ruby retired, they liked to travel, and Ruby found she really liked to fly thanks to her sister Opal and her husband Vernon.

Ruby is survived by her sons David of Harper, Gary of Stillwater, Okla. and daughter Brenda Volavka of Caldwell; nine grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Ruby was preceded in death by her parents, husband, sons Robert and Rick and a son-in-law Rick Volavka, sisters Pearl Fitch, Opal Price and brother Carl Stewart.

In lieu of flowers the family request memorials be given to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in care of Schaeffer Mortuary.

Funeral services will be held 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 20, 2018 at the Schaeffer Mortuary Chapel. Caldwell, Kansas.

To share a memory or leave a condolence please visit

Arrangements by Schaeffer Mortuary, 6 N. Main, Caldwell, Kansas.

Volunteers for Salvation Army Bell ringing to support Sumner County Sun, 18 Nov 2018 20:05:37 +0000

Sumner Newscow report — The annual Salvation Army Bell ringing season starts each November and runs through Christmas Eve, when the red kettles are packed away for the season.  Volunteers make the difference between an empty kettle and one that can raise about $30 per hour, which is enough to provide a family with two bags of groceries or shelter for an individual for the night.   This ministry supports families right here in Sumner County!!

That’s where you come in:  VOLUNTEER BELL RINGERS are needed right here in Wellington!  Salvation Army kettles will be stationed in 3 areas:  two at Walmart (east and west doors) and one at Dillons.

Click HERE to sign up.

If you clicked on the above link you could tell there is A LOT.  Please, please share this information with your employees, co-workers, congregations, family, friends – EVERYONE – because we want to hear bells ringing the entire time they are here in Wellington!

People should thank the Wellington Free Will Baptist Church for managing this project this year.  They will visit a Chamber Coffee or two to share more information or answer questions.  In the meantime, sign yourself up for some shifts as a bell ringer and help ease the burden on some of our friends and neighbors right here in SuCo!

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Sunday feature: Where are those #@$& officials?! Sun, 18 Nov 2018 16:56:57 +0000

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — We love to boo the officials. They wear those funny black and white shirts and they always make calls for the other team… so we think. When we win, we win. When we lose, it’s always the officials’ fault.

But as much as we love to hate them, the officials are taken for granted for always being there in hopes of implementing an orderly game.

That may be changing. The Kansas State High School Activities Association is facing a crisis that not only is affecting football, but basketball, girls softball and baseball. The state can’t find enough officials to call the games.

Longtime football official Mike Wilmoth was at a Crusader Club meeting the other day, and hammered this point home.

“I was officiating the other night, and I was the second youngest ref on the five-man crew,” said Wilmoth, who is now 60-years-old.

Wilmoth said there are 1,200 registered football officials in Kansas, and there are 975 officials needed to cover all the games on a Friday night.

“And not all of those are full time,” Wilmoth said. “Like my son Brandon. He can only coach when he can.”

And with that athletic directors and officiating commissioners scramble, looking underneath rocks, beneath bleachers, anywhere to find someone to officiate on a Friday night. And it just isn’t Friday. There are the middle school games on Thursday and the junior varsity games on Monday. Wellington High School and Middle School Activities Director Luke Smith said there might be a time when they can’t play junior varsity, middle school games because they can’t quite simply find anyone to officiate.

“We need to recruit,” Wilmoth said. “And we need to recruit locally. We need to find someone who is young who has a little thicker skin and loves the game of football… That’s really what officiating is all about. The love of football.”

Mike Wilmoth

Wilmoth has officiated at all levels: youth, middle school, high school, college and yes, the NFL. Remember when the NFL was using replacement officials because the regular ones were on strike a few years back? Wilmoth was one of those.

And while the rules and the talent are different at each level, there is a consistency to officiating.

Surprisingly, Wilmoth doesn’t buy the low-lying-fruit excuse that the reason why people are no longer officiating is because fans are bigger jerks today.

“I think sportsmanship has always been about the same,” Wilmoth said. “In fact in some ways, people today are a little better.”

Wilmoth sites other reason for the officiating shrinkage. Yep, it is about pay, logistics, and technology.

Officials don’t make much – usually around $10 an hour. A person may be called to officiate a team in Timbuktu. He (or she) could leave his main job at 3 p.m. and not get home until 11 p.m. for a $75 paycheck.

Wilmoth said part of the problem is there are no incentives for A.D.s to find anyone local. They can recruit elsewhere because the state now pays a flat rate for milage and not by the mile. So they will pay a person $80 to travel to a game no matter if that person lives in Salina or Kansas City or down the road in Winfield. That’s fine for the school, but for the guy in the car traveling to and from Timbuktu, that’s a tremendous time commitment.

Wilmoth also thinks switching the high school game starting time from 7:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. has hurt the sport. Officials used to be able to get off their 9-to-5 job at 5 p.m. and get there at 6:30 p.m. before the game starts at 7:30 p.m. Now, they are required to get there at least 90 minutes before the game to prepare and watch film. That means they need to be there sometimes at 5:30 p.m. If your job ends at 5 p.m. and you have travel time, you aren’t going to make it.

“I had one guy tell me he couldn’t afford to get off his 9-to-5 job that pays him $20 an hour to go officiate a game that pays him $10 an hour,” Wilmoth said.

Then there is technology.

“It used to be we could call the world’s worst, horrible game in the history of the sport,” Wilmoth said. “We could get together afterwards and make an excuse about our incompetency and the commissioners would believe us.”

Now that is no longer the case, Wilmoth said. Everyone has a cell phone in the stand, some even in HD, and every play can be recorded and scrutinized… forever.

“There is nowhere to hide,” Wilmoth said. “I think that’s a lot of pressure to put on some people.”

In the end, Wilmoth said the pay will need to be addressed and it will need to be set by the athletic leagues.

“In the meantime, be nice to us,” Wilmoth said. “We aren’t doing it for the money. Again, we are there for the love of the game.”

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Rains: VNA has met all the requirements for accepting the planning/zoning request Sun, 18 Nov 2018 16:10:04 +0000 by Cletas Rains, letter to the editor — I would like to respond to Mr. Hisken’s letter to the editor concerning the proposed Verbio North America plant.  First, I understand the concerns raised by the folks who do not want the plant located in their area.  Most of these people are members of ours at Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative and I can sympathize with their perspective of “not in my backyard” position concerning the location.  However, that is not a legitimate reason for denying the permit and zoning change requested.  The developers of this project have met all the requirements set forth by regulation and the requirements of Sumner County, the State of Kansas, and the federal standards.

Mr. Hisken poses several questions about VNA and the financial aspects of the project.  First, he asks what benefit would this operation bring to Sumner County?  Even with a property tax abatement, which is given to nearly every new business, there is the potential of a significant financial gain by the operation of this facility.  If he is addressing tax subsidies, I would note there are a number of tax subsidies being enjoyed by quite a few in Sumner County today.

The current proposal suggests an investment of $50 million dollars initially in the plant facilities.  The payroll will be several million dollars, which will circulate five to seven times throughout the area.  This will provide a new source of revenue for local businesses from the employee base.  At some point the tax abatement will expire resulting in much needed tax revenue for the county and surrounding government jurisdictions.

In his letter, Mr. Hisken states Mr. Northrup is only interested in making money.  I would agree with that, who would invest this amount of money in a business without the expectation of making money?  He suggests this money will come at the expense of our tax dollars.  I assume he is speaking of the property tax abatements, which does not impact any current taxes, therefore would not be our current tax dollars benefiting a private business.  Unfortunately, property tax abatements are the nature of the world we live in today.  We could never attract new business or industry without the use of tax incentives, as other areas throughout the country use this option to attract business to their area.  I will point out that if the plant is not built, we will have zero opportunity for any tax benefits from a new business.

He also states there are not enough available workers in our area to fill the proposed seventy-five full time jobs the facility needs for operation.  If we have a 4 percent unemployment rate, I would suggest that indicates there are people still looking for work, but this does not include those looking to improve or increase their income.  I am sure there are enough people available and willing to fill these positions.

Mr. Hisken states that Mr. Northrup has said he would remain in Michigan and Mr. Hisken suggests this is a problem.  First, Mr. Northrup’s company has just purchased an ethanol plant in Iowa and he cannot live in both Kansas and Iowa.  If I recall, when I worked for Boeing, the CEO did not live in Kansas and I don’t believe that caused any problems for the state.

He also states that this is not only opposed by those living in the area but also by others throughout the county.  I have personally spoken with several people within the county that do favor the plant and some in the southern part of the county that had not heard of this project until just very recently.  Even if one thousand people oppose the plant, that leaves a significant majority that may have an opposite opinion.

I know I will be accused of supporting the plant because it will benefit my employer, Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative.  I will state this is true, but I will not benefit personally in any way.  The cooperative is a not-for-profit electric utility, which means any financial gain we realize from operations is returned to our member owners.  The benefit the cooperative would realize is simply an increase in revenue which will help spread our fixed costs and take pressure off of electric rates.  This can be a significant benefit for all of our members.

As a life-long resident, I also support any development in Sumner County that will ultimately benefit a large majority of the residents of Sumner County.  I strongly believe this particular plant will benefit a majority of Sumner County residents through taxes, payroll and expenditures required by the plant operations.  I would highly recommend the Sumner County Commissioners unanimously vote to bring this plant into production in Sumner County.  Unfortunately, this opportunity may be lost and another county, with a vision for the future, will benefit at our expense.  If the plant is not approved, we will be telling other potential developers we are not open for business in Sumner County.

Cletas Rains

Wellington, Kansas

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The 42nd annual Christmas in the Country is coming to Oxford! Sun, 18 Nov 2018 06:02:53 +0000

Beehive Creative Toys and Quilt Shop holds ribbon cutting and grand opening this weekend Sat, 17 Nov 2018 17:44:53 +0000

The Beehive ribbon cutting was held Friday afternoon. (Click on photo for larger version)

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow —  Rarely has there been a ribbon cutting in downtown Wellington that has had so much fanfare as of late. Beehive Quilt Shop and Bee Creative Toys ribbon cutting held a ribbon cutting yesterday afternoon. Today, the business will be having their grand opening celebration until 4 p.m. If you missed the grand opening, don’t worry, there is plenty of opportunity to come by and see what’s happening at 112 n. Washington.

The ribbon cutting and grand opening culminates two years of work for a business that carries on the tradition of a building that once was the home of Gambrill’s Department Store and J.C.’s Penney.

While the store has been open for almost a year, the grand opening was delayed until now.

“We wanted to wait until we got the exterior signage, which is kind of the crown jewel of the store,” said Annarose White, the co-owner of the store. “We have been working closely with the Historical Society in making sure the signs are authentic.”

There were more than 30 people in attendance Friday afternoon welcoming the new business that will not only serve as a store but a tourist destination. Beehive is truly a family business as Annarose runs it with her parents Nick and Connie Hart. Annarose is the wife of Phil White, a Wellington High School graduate and banker at Impact Bank in Caldwell. The Hart family are originally from Paola, but have made their home in Wellington.

The new business is not only unique in its wares and business acumen, but it has a unique thermal heating system that Sumner Newscow hopes to write about someday. As mentioned before, the signs are also historical vestiges from an era when signs were gold plated (see story here). Inside there is a towering lego ferris wheel that will catch the eyes of many.

“It would seem like because of our age, I would be dealing with the toys and my mom would be dealing with quilts,” Annarose told the Chamber ribbon cutting crowd. “It is just the opposite. My mom has always had a fascination with toys and I’m the quilter.”

The Hart family in attendance include: Nick, John, Connie, Gus and Annarose. (Click on photo for larger version).

The store includes a full service quilt shop – plus a fantastic toy store for people of all ages – featuring LEGO, Melissa & Doug, Fat Brain Toys, puzzles, trains, tractors, stuffed animals, baby gifts, Blankie Tails, and more. The business also offers fun building classes and will host birthday parties for children ages 5 and up.

“Someone might ask us how we came up with the name Beehive Quilt Store,” Connie said on the Beehive Quilt Shop website here. “It was because not only do we love bees and pollinators, but the building has been home to two previous hives.”

She continues:

Annarose loves English Paper Piecing, and has made thousands of hexagons.  A fun fact one of the original businesses to open up a shop in Wellington, KS was the Beehive Grocery Store. Bees make the world go round and without them we wouldn’t have flowers and trees that inspire so many of our quilts and fabrics we display.

Beehive Quilt Shop and Bee Creative Toys is open Mondays through Wednesdays, and Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays they are unfortunately closed.

Their phone number is (913)259-3346. Their e-mail is:

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Norma Jo Miller, 91, Wellington: August 29, 1927 – Nov. 15, 2018 Fri, 16 Nov 2018 23:37:35 +0000

Norma Jo Miller

Norma Jo Miller, of Mayfield, died Thursday, November 15, 2018 at Via Christi-St. Francis in Wichita at the age of 91.

Norma Jo was born the daughter of John B. and Edna Mae (Johnson) Wade on Monday, August 29, 1927 in Wellington.

On July 7, 1944 Norma Jo and Dean Albert Miller were united in marriage in Wellington. Together they celebrated 61 years of marriage before his passing in 2005.

Her faith and church were important to her and Norma Jo enjoyed participating in the United Methodist Women, the Bell Choir, Ruth Circle among other things. She enjoyed gardening, flowers, sewing and going to craft shows. Above all, Norma Jo loved being a mother and grandmother. She will be missed by all that knew her.

Survivors include her daughter, Carolyn Sue Ellis and her husband Richard of Mayfield; daughter, Susan Kay Troutman and her husband Eldon of Mayfield; daughter, Peggy Ann Miller of Harveyville, grandchildren: Travis William Ellis and his wife Desty of Springdale, Arkansas, Jason Dean Ellis and his wife Carrie of Manhattan, Penny Jo Ast and her husband Clint of Conway Springs and Marci Lee Kolman and her husband Patrick of Wellington, great-grandchildren: Kailyn Ellis, Makensie Ellis, Rylie Ellis, Will Addair, Cody Ast, Preston Ast, Piper Kolman and Maisie Kolman along with several nieces, nephews and their families. 

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband and son-in-law, Robert “Grannie” McGranahan. 

Visitation will be held at the funeral home from 1 to 8 p.m., Sunday, November 18, 2018 with the family present from 6 to 8 p.m.

Funeral services for Norma Jo will be held at 10 a.m., Monday, November 19, 2018 at the Mayfield Federated Church, Mayfield.

Interment will follow at Osborne Cemetery, Mayfield.

A memorial fund has been established in her loving memory to the Mayfield Federated Church. Contributions may be mailed or left with the funeral home.

To share a memory or leave condolences, please visit

Arrangements are by Cornejo|Day Funeral Home & Crematory, Wellington.

It’s Friday… What is the new CultureCow, Alex? Fri, 16 Nov 2018 21:56:17 +0000

Commentary by Devin McCue, Sumner Newscow — Let’s start talking this weekend by talking about a fantastic development of joining two great American institutions: Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu and traditional game shows.  Both streaming services have become the go-to place for original content and the movies we all know and love, but they’ve been lacking in one crucial area: game shows.

Game shows are a great American tradition where anyone can go up on stage and try their absolute hardest to win fame in fortune, albeit for the vast majority, the opposite is ever more likely.  But that all changed last week when Netflix finally pulled the trigger and bought the rights to the very best gameshow of all time: Jeopardy!

Jeopardy is the ultimate test of trivia knowledge and the equivalent of the Olympics for nerds.  The only thing better than an episode of Jeopardy is an episode of Jeopardy where they make Alex Trebek (the host) read rap lyrics in one of their music categories. 

If you’re unaware, Jeopardy is a rapid-fire trivia battle where three contestants fight through two rounds of six categories that have five questions each.  These categories can range anywhere from pop culture to astrophysics and truly represents the broad capacity of knowledge some of these contestants truly have.

After the rounds are complete the contestants compete in a final, winner take all question where we are finally graced with the iconic Jeopardy music we all know and love.  It’s a classic song and a certified banger that you should change to your ringtone right now before you read another word…Got it? Great.  While Netflix only has 40 episodes, it’s an excellent starter pack to get you familiar with the game before you start watching it religiously on TV (and if you live in Kansas, you’re graced with two episodes a day).

But Netflix isn’t the only streaming service making moves this week.  Hulu also made headlines recently by bringing one of the most iconic film series of all time to their platform: the Oceans Trilogy.  I went to type a sentence like “George Cloony’s series of films…” but was tripped up because it doesn’t belong to Mr. Clooney.  No, they’re as much his movies as they are Brad Pitt’s, Don Cheadle’s, Matt Damon’s, Bernie Mac’s, Julia Roberts’, Andy Garcia’s, and several more.

That’s what made this film series so great; it was the first time Hollywood decided it was just going to throw a whole bunch of mega-stars in the same room and watch what happened and oh my was it a success (if you think about it, Oceans 11 is the real first Avengers).  Instead of stealing the screen from one another, the cast played off each other beautifully and gelled from the get go and put on one of the greatest, and funniest, heists cinema has ever seen.

Heist movies are one of the best sub genres around and the Oceans Series is at the cream of the crop in the way it balances humor, wit, and secrecy with one of the best reveals in any movie.  If you haven’t seen them already, rush to your couch with 10 of your closest friends and binge these movies until you’re ready to rob your own casino.

If you really want to start your weekend off right with a new offering from one of my favorite alt-pop artists, .  She’s an under the wire artist with only a 2014 album and a few stellar singles to her name, but when she does put out new music it’s always up to snuff.  Her newest album is called Forever Neverland and is the most complete work, both lyrically and in concept for the young artist.  It follows MØ through the rise and fall of her relationship and the fallout she experiences after the destruction of her life (hint, it’s not super healthy).

MØ’s albums and singles up to this date have always had a good idea in mind, but Finding Neverland is the artist’s first attempt at sustaining that idea longer than four songs and she succeeds in spades.  It’s easy to follow her on her journey through the experience and absolutely fall in love with the music along the way.  While each song follows the central theme of the album, they all have an independent sound to them that rings louder and louder as the album goes on.  She can follow If It’s Over (feat. Charlie XCX), perhaps the most defiant and quick-paced song on the album, with a violent crash down to an emotional ballad called West Hollywood.

This hard shift in tone represents MØ’s journey to find a rebound with her friend to the sad feelings she feels once her friends leave and the music stops.  MØ’s sound is a mix between the electronic and pace of EDM and the sugary glitz of her voice that could only be from a pop artist, but instead of being generic and machine made like a Tori Kelly, her voice maintains its own soul and presence like a Dup Lipa.  MØ is an underground artist, but it won’t stay like that for long, so get ahead of the game now and check out this album so you can be one of those people who knew her “before she blew up.”

Finally, this week, don’t forget to pour one out for the dearly departed genius that was Stan Lee.  For many, he was just the old guy that popped up in every Marvel movie for seemingly no reason, but for thousands of others, he was the creator of a fantastical world populated with their favorite characters.  Stan was a visionary when it came to his craft, and he will be sorely missed.

Meme of the week

I unfortunately can’t look at every meme that dominates the internet every week, so if you see a meme and think it should be the meme of the week please send it to:

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Mill Creek Holiday Open House on Nov. 17, 5-8 p.m. Fri, 16 Nov 2018 21:38:44 +0000