Salvation Army needs bell ringers

By Steve Sell
December 02, 2020

The Salvation Army is asking for volunteers to serve as bell ringers.

Bell ringers will be at both doors at Wal-Mart and a door at Dillons. Call 241-8331 to volunteer.

You can make a donation by, coins, cash, check or a credit card, as there are scanners on the red kettels. Just put McPherson on the memo line on the check.

Reflections on the sports writing profession

By Steve Sell
December 02, 2020

There was a time when we used to have a close-knit community of veteran Kansas sports writers.

The best meeting spot was of course at the granddaddy of them all, the Kansas State Track and Field Championships at the end of May. Generally, the majority of sports writers around the state would be at Wichita’s Cessna Stadium, if not for both sessions certainly on Saturday when team champions and mostly finals are contested.

Having been in the “club” for actually 45 years if you count my time as a sports writer while going to school at Independence, I have seen them come and go. I have been on the McPherson beat for 42 years and always enjoyed my time with the guys (and gals) from the big papers such as Wichita, Topeka and Kansas City and then next-level-sized papers such as Salina, Hutchinson and Hays. I’ve made many lasting friendships in the business.

I can remember one time that some of us went to Kansas City for a sports writers workshop and we stayed just across the street from Kauffman Stadium. We attended a Royals game the first night (I can remember then-Salina writer Tim Fitzgerald having quite a good time) and then we had workshops the next day. We had ourselves quite a number of laughs and may have thrown down a cocktail or 20, all in the name of making us better journalists. We weren’t competitors those two days even though many of us were from the same area and tried to get the scoop on the same stories.

I bring this up because it was a shock to read on Twitter Tuesday that venerable prep sports writer Rick Peterson announced he is ending a 31-year run with The Topeka Capital-Journal. Pete has been one of the perennial staples in our business, including a stint at The Ottawa Herald before he moved over to Topeka. He’s primarily covered the high school beat, but also has done some college writing. He is a pro’s pro, the ultimate professional. He’s one of only two sports writers ever to receive the Oscar Stauffer Award for prep sports writing from KSHSAA twice.

He said in his post he’ll have announcement soon about his future plans.

I can remember in my early days when I’d read the C-J every day and always looked forward to their football picks because they had an army of writers, editors and copy editors that numbered double digits. I can remember the likes of Bob Hentzen, Rick Dean and Allen Quakenbush and always looked for their stories or columns. I think Hentzen was one of my first sports writing idols because he shared my love of golf – but I didn’t share his love of cigars, though there was a time I tried – and the fact he seemed like such a cool dude. I actually only covered one game where he was in the press box and he certainly held court as everybody loved Bob.

Now, given the near-demise of print media, The Capital-Journal has a scant-few sports writers left. A big corporation that I’m familiar with came in and took a hatchet to the paper, stripping it of much of its quality. That has been the scenario that’s played out at many of Kansas’ newspapers, including my former employer for 33 years. I find it all very sad that so many have been gutted.

If Pete is really out of newspapers, the old-timers club is thinning out. The Eagle’s Bob Lutz left in 2017 and The G.O.A.T., Bob Davidson, left The Salina Journal not too long after. Joanna Chadwick isn’t an old-timer (I think she’s 29), but she’s put in more than 20 years in the biz, now at Vype after many years as the top prep writer at The Eagle, while also teaching journalism at Derby.

I also miss people like Brad Hallier, Gene Schinzel and Pat Sangimino when they were at Hutchinson, Duane Frazier at Wichita, Craig Null at Independence, Brett Marshall (Hutchinson, Salina, Garden City), “Sir Lawrence” Moritz at Salina, Diane Gasper-O’Brien at Hays and Kevin Haskin at Topeka, all writers whose work I seldom missed but they have since moved on. I’m not sure what they thought of me and my talents, but hopefully it wasn’t that I was a hack and an annoyance.

I’m starting to feel like a dinosaur. My buddy Paul “Mogie” Mogenson still strings for Salina and he’s always telling me what a youngster I am when we gather for Bethany games. Ron Preston at Abilene is in the 60s club like me. And I can’t forget “The Schnab” down at The Newton Kansan, Mark Schnabel. He’s been there for a chunk of years, I’m guessing about 35. Other vets still in the business are Arne Green at Salina, Brian Thomas at Independence, Greg Mast at Ottawa and Jim Misunas at Great Bend. Even “Pistol” Peter Holland does some stringing for The Sentinel and other publications, though he’s still in his 20s but I had to mention him. And I can’t forget Brian Bay at Salina, who is the agate master.

I’m sure there are sports writers at smaller papers that I simply don’t know, but it’s now a young writers’ occupation. For me, it’s been hard to keep up with technology because I don’t do Twitter except for going to links and wouldn’t know what an app is. Heck, I can barely text. Instragram? What is that? Snap Chat? Forget about it.

I know I’ve put in my time and probably given up my life for this business and it has given back to me 10-fold, though it’s hardly a financial windfall. I’ve been fortunate enough to live in one of the most successful sports towns in Kansas history where people worship their teams and athletes, not to mention they have a high sports IQ. It doesn’t hurt that the teams have been uber-successful with championships galore and the town has produced some of the state’s all-time best athletes.

Like McPherson High AD Shane Backhus, the best in the business, always tells me, “it’s all about the kids.” I know my time will come to ride into the sunset like some of my sports writing brethren. When, I’m just not sure. But that sun is barely peeking above the row of trees and setting fast.

Cookies with Santa today at Stupka Chriopractic

By KBBE News
December 02, 2020

“Cookies with Santa,” a promotional series held throughout the month through the McPherson Chamber of Commerce and the Main Street Holiday promotion, is scheduled for today.

It will be held at Stupka Chiropractic, 114 W. Marlin. Santa will be on hand from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. to greet the youth.

Mac men have huge test tonight

It could be quite a shootout tonight when the undefeated McPherson College men’s basketball team travels
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8th girls take two from Derby

McPherson’s eighth-grade girls didn’t miss a beat.

After a bit of a layoff due to the
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7th girls sweep Derby

Defense continues to be a strength for McPherson’s seventh-grade girls as they clamped down on Derby
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Sell On Sports

Reflections on the sports writing profession

There was a time when we used to have a close-knit community of veteran Kansas sports writers.

The best meeting spot was of course at the granddaddy of them all, the Kansas State Track and Field Championships at the end... Read More

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