Sean Sandefur


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.


5:00 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Writing Is Personal For Composer, Lyricist Andrew Lippa Of 'Big Fish'

The cast of the Broadway musical 'Big Fish'

Music Theatre of Wichita has named Big Fish among its productions for 2015. The story centers on tall tales and a strained relationship between a father and son. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur has this look into the Big Fish story and its music…

Originally a novel by Daniel Wallace, the story of Big Fish weaves whimsical and surreal memories into a very real relationship between Edward Bloom and his grown son, Will. Edward is known for tales so tall they’re hard to believe, like meeting a witch who gives him a vision of his life and death.

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4:56 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Sedgwick County Commission Terminates Funding Agreement With GWEDC

Credit Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition


In a 3-2 vote, the Sedgwick County Commission has terminated a five-year funding agreement with Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition. 

The decision won’t affect the $300,000 the county is providing the organization this year, but allows the commission to renew its financial support annually, instead of every five years. Commissioner Tim Norton didn’t support the change, saying that public and private partnerships are key in helping the local economy.

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5:05 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Wichita City Council Votes Against Changing Funding Agreement With GWEDC

Credit City of Wichita


The Wichita City Council voted down a proposal on Tuesday to change its funding agreement with the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition. The vote was in response to actions by the Sedgwick County Commission.

Last week, county commissioners discussed a plan to change their funding agreement with the GWEDC, the Sedgwick County Zoo and Exploration Place. The organizations are currently funded in five-year blocks, but some commissioners favor year-to-year agreements to protect against future budget shortfalls. 

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5:52 pm
Mon May 18, 2015

Blue Bell Creameries Is Closing Its Wichita Distribution Center

Credit Flickr Creative Commons/MikeGC2011


Blue Bell Creameries announced it's shutting down a distribution center in Wichita. The decision is part of a string of nationwide layoffs the company announced last week.

An outbreak of listeria in Blue Bell Ice Cream prompted the company to recall all of its products earlier this year. The lack of production has now led to over 1,400 employees being laid off and 14 distribution centers being shut down.

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4:49 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Sedgwick Co. Commission Punts Funding Decision To September

Credit Sedgwick County

The Sedgwick County Commission voted on Wendesday morning to delay any changes to the funding agreements with a number of area institutions. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur has more…

Business owners, non-profit leaders and parents came out in droves on Wednesday to testify in support of county-backed institutions, namely Exploration Place and the Sedgwick County Zoo.

Many of them were concerned that funding levels would take a dip when county officials draft a budget in the coming months. Susie Santo of Visit Wichita warned of the impact decreased funding would have to tourism.

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3:58 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Parents Remember Chris Norgren, A Marine Whose Helicopter Crashed In Nepal

Theresa and Ron Norgren of Wichita hold a photo of their son, Chris. A Marine Helicopter that Chris Norgren was onboard crashed in Nepal on Tuesday
Credit Sean Sandefur


The parents of a Marine who died in a helicopter crash in Nepal spoke with reporters in Wichita on Friday. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur has more…


For three days, Ron Norgren and his wife Theresa waited for an update about the missing helicopter their son Chris was aboard. U.S. officials have now confirmed that the helicopter crashed in eastern Nepal while conducting a relief mission.

Ron Norgren says he last talked to his son on Mother’s Day.

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4:13 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Kansas Winter Wheat Harvest Expected To Be Better Than 2014

Credit ronhays / Flickr


After a grim start to Spring and a fear of prolonged drought, recent rainfall has helped boost winter wheat crops throughout Kansas, according to a report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The report indicates that Kansas should yield about 272 million bushels of winter wheat, up about 9 percent from last year. 

Jim Shroyer is a wheat specialist with the Kansas State Extension Office. He says harvest is still about three weeks out, but farmers are hoping for minimal rainfall when the time comes.

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5:00 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Ruts And Potholes: The Future Of Wichita's Worst Streets

Large ruts mar the surface of Belmont Street, near Pawnee
Sean Sandefur

A sales tax referendum on last November’s ballot would’ve put an estimated $27.8 million dollars towards street repairs in Wichita. The referendum was defeated, but the cracks and potholes remain. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur takes a driving tour of some of the city’s worst roads and has this report…

When you map out the streets that would have received a bit of TLC from the defeated sales tax, you see whole neighborhoods that are crisscrossed with course, uneven asphalt and concrete.

Belmont Street, from Pawnee to Kinkaid in southwest Wichita, is about as bad as it gets.

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5:04 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

Local Business Owners Come Together To Enhance K-96 Bike Trail

Credit Armstrong Chamberlin Marketing

The K-96 bike path will soon have new signage thanks to a donation by a group of local business owners. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur has more…

The City of Wichita received a donation of “wayfinding” signs, which will be installed along the K-96 bike path from Dr. Glen Dey Park to 127th Street East. The signage is being funded by Together Wichita, a group started by Wichita Eagle Publisher Kim Nussbaum. It now includes a number of local business leaders including Armstrong Chamberlin Marketing. 

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Crime and Courts
4:58 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

Officer Involved Shooting Leads To One Suspect In Serious Condition

Credit Ark Valley Fire Buff / Flickr


An officer involved shooting in Wichita has left one suspect in serious condition and another in police custody.  

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