J. Schafer

Contributing Reporter

J. Schafer is the news director for Kansas Public Radio at the University of Kansas. Before joining KPR in 1995, he spent 10 years as a commercial radio and TV newsman.

During his career, he has filed stories for nearly every major radio news network in the nation. This seems to impress no one, not even his mom. But then, she had hoped he would become a priest. 

In the fall of 2000, he worked for the U.S. State Department, traveling to central Asia to teach broadcast journalism at newly independent radio stations in the former Soviet Union. One of his passions is Kansas--learning about and promoting the state’s rich heritage, people and accomplishments.

A native of Great Bend, Kansas, he studied journalism and mass communications at Barton County Community College and at the University of Kansas. He was also an exchange student to Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany.

The pretentious “J.” in J. Schafer stands for Jeremy, but he doesn’t really care for that name. 

J. Schafer / Kansas Public Radio

Shawnee County officials are trying to determine the identity of a body found in the charred debris of a burned-out Topeka motel. The Country Club Motel erupted in flames Saturday night, during a shootout with federal agents. The gunfight began when agents were trying to arrest a robbery suspect who was believed to be staying at the motel.

The U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force was trying to capture 28-year-old Orlando Collins, an armed robbery suspect on the state’s Most Wanted list.

Courtesy Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Aerospace engineering students at the University of Kansas have made it to the finals of an international design competition. Their mission? Come up with the blueprints for a new space station.


Sex trafficking is big business and it's become a big problem in Kansas. Every day, women and children are held captive -- usually through coercion -- and forced into prostitution. It happens at truck stops, motels and dozens of other places.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

Now that the wildfires in south-central Kansas have largely been brought under control, the search is on for missing cattle. The animals scattered in all directions when grass fires burned down hundreds of miles of fencing.

Gaten Wood, Barber County attorney and spokesman for emergency operations in Medicine Lodge, says they have not yet calculated the total number of livestock lost to the fire, but that reports say as many as 150 cattle have been lost.

Storem, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas colleges and universities are preparing for the summer of 2017. That's when they will have to start allowing students, staff and faculty members to carry concealed guns on campus.

Schools can opt out of this policy, but only if they spend millions of dollars to upgrade security measures.

One survey showed a majority of university employees opposed the idea of allowing guns on campus.

Bryan Thompson

As Kansas lawmakers prepare for the 2016 legislative session, Gov. Sam Brownback is preparing his annual budget message.

The governor will deliver his State of the State Address to the Kansas Legislature at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 12, in the House chamber. In accordance with Section 5 of Article 1 of the Kansas Constitution, the governor will provide lawmakers with information on the condition of the state.

University of Kansas

A University of Kansas researcher has uncovered a rare audio recording of James Naismith, talking about the very first game of basketball, a game he invented. School officials believe this is the only known recording of Naismith.

In this 1939 radio interview, he talks about setting up the first basketball game in Massachusetts in 1891.

Hear the full interview here: http://exhibits.lib.ku.edu/exhibits/show/naismith150/collections/radio-interview

Petr David Josek/AP (from npr.org)

The fate of Syrian and Iraqi refugees remains uncertain. If and when a decision is made to relocate refugees in the United States, one agency will likely be called into action: Catholic Charities. When it comes to resettling refugees, this agency is one of the largest.

Ken Williams is the president and CEO of Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas. KPR's J. Schafer spoke to him to learn more about the agency and its mission.

J. Schafer

President Obama wants the United States to accept refugees who are fleeing the violence in Syria and Iraq. Congress opposes this plan, as do most governors, including Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. Some churches are taking a different stand.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Funding for the entire Kansas court system has been in jeopardy. But Attorney General Derek Schmidt has now obtained a court order that prevents the judiciary from having its funding cut off, at least for a while.

First, some background: The Kansas Legislature passed a law that took power away from the Kansas Supreme Court by changing the way local chief judges are selected. The Supreme Court used to make those decisions but under this law, that power was transferred to local judges.