Sean Sandefur

Reporter

A photographer by trade, Sean got his feet wet in broadcast news as an intern at St. Louis Public Radio. It is here, he says, where he caught "the NPR bug."

A graduate of Webster University in St. Louis, Mo., Sean joined KMUW in January of 2014.

He often covers the intersection of government and citizenry. His story about chemical contamination in a west Wichita neighborhood won a national Society of Professional Journalists award for investigative journalism. His coverage of Wichita's "No Ferguson Here" movement won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for hard news.

Sean also has experience in television, completing an internship at KTTC-TV in Rochester, Minn., where he covered massive flood damage as a multimedia journalist.

Outside of work, Sean has an addiction to baseball and has a cat named after his literary hero, Huckleberry Finn.

Ways to Connect

Marcin Wichary, flickr Creative Commons

Residents in Oklahoma and Kansas have become accustomed to a new reality: earthquakes. They range from so small they’re only detectable by scientific instruments, to so powerful they can crumble brick walls.

Justin Rubinstein, of the United States Geological Survey, has been studying the tremors in this region and determining what’s causing them. The California-based geophysicist sat down with KMUW's Sean Sandefur.

GLMV Architecture

Wichita State’s Innovation Campus, a huge expansion taking shape along 17th Street, just got a new tenant.

Element by Westin, a hotel chain with a contemporary design, will be the first addition and a focal point of Braeburn Square, the university’s new retail and mixed-use corridor. There will also be several units for retail and restaurants.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

Kansas is one of 46 states that have been receiving significant amounts of money each year from tobacco settlements. Nearly 20 years ago, when the settlement was decided, states were encouraged to use the money for cessation programs and tobacco-related health care costs. In Kansas, the money is funneled into an early childhood education endowment. But the programs that rely on this funding are worried that their ability to serve the community will be in jeopardy if large amounts of the settlement money continues to be diverted to the state’s general fund.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

This year’s Riverfest celebration in downtown Wichita saw an 11 percent increase in attendance over last year, according to event organizers.

Wichita Festivals, Inc. counted a total of 455,000 people who traveled to the banks of the Arkansas River to enjoy concerts, food and other attractions. It continues a trend of increased attendance over the last two years.

Event organizers say the most popular attractions were the fireworks finale last Saturday, which attracted about 60,000 people, and the Sundown Parade, which kicked off Riverfest’s first night on June 3.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Election officials in Kansas are starting the process of registering thousands of suspended voters after a federal court ruled the state is violating the National Voter Registration Act. Approximately 18,000 people have been unable to vote in local or national elections because they failed to provide proof of citizenship while registering at a DMV.

https://www.viachristi.org

Via Christi Health in Wichita will be sending out notices over the next two weeks informing staff about the elimination of 70 non-patient care positions. That’s in addition to another 80 positions that have been vacant over the last three months that will not be filled. However, as KMUW’s Sean Sandefur reports, the company will be adding bedside nurses to their patient care unit.

According to a release from Todd Conklin, interim CEO for Via Christi Health, the company is looking to hire roughly 80 people for bedside care positions, such as nurses and therapists.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

After celebrating its 100th anniversary two years ago by sitting vacant and in rough shape, Wichita’s historic Union Station, as well as the the train depot and two story building sitting next to it, have been brought back to life.

There are now several tenants, from restaurants to insurance offices. 

Chad Stafford, president of Occidental Management, the company developing the property, says the first phase concentrated on the two-story Grand and Patrick Building along Douglas, the adjacent brick train depot, and the exterior courtyard.

r. Vore / flickr Creative Commons

The City of Wichita is ending its annual water conservation rebate program after a year of providing energy-efficient appliances to customers.

In the program's fourth year, more than 800 of Wichita’s water customers received about $100,000 in rebates for purchasing energy-efficient washing machines, dishwashers, toilets, rain barrels and irrigation systems. Penny Feist with Wichita Public Works and Utilities says new appliances have a big impact on water conservation.

Bloomsberries, flickr Creative Commons

A U.S. appeals court has ruled that thousands of suspended voters in Kansas who used motor vehicles offices to register to vote must be allowed to cast a ballot in federal elections.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

Wichita Habitat for Humanity is celebrating its 30th anniversary by building a home at Riverfest.

A combination of 300 volunteers and skilled workers built the 3-bedroom home in just eight days. The house is currently sitting on stilts just south of the Hyatt Regency Hotel and will be moved in the coming weeks to the Delano neighborhood. It is the 208th home to be built by the Wichita chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

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