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

City of Wichita

The City of Wichita is holding a social media town hall to discuss the upcoming budget process.

The event is an opportunity for residents to voice their concerns about municipal spending, and where Wichita should focus its dollars going forward. City leaders will begin piecing together next year’s budget over the next two months.

This is the fifth year for social media town halls, and Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell says they continue to be important surveys.

Courtesy / Wichita State University

Wichita State University is asking its faculty and staff for ways to save money and increase outside funding for their departments. The school has experienced funding cuts from the state.

wichita.gov

The City of Wichita is trying to decide what to do with two publicly-owned pieces of land in Delano.

The two parcels, called Catalyst A and B, are well positioned. To the north, the City of Wichita is building its brand new Advanced Learning Library. To the east, construction is ongoing for the River Vista development, a 204-unit apartment complex on the banks of Arkansas River.

Sean Sandefur, File Photo / KMUW

A temporary TSA Pre-Check enrollment site will be available next week at Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport.

To be approved for TSA Pre-Check, a traveler must apply and be deemed low-risk. It’s typically awarded to U.S. citizens, nationals and lawful permanent residents who haven’t committed a violent crime or an act of espionage or terrorism.

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu

Every county in Kansas is officially drought free for the first time since April of 2011. Gov. Brownback made the declaration in an executive order this morning. It corresponds with findings by the U.S. Drought Monitor, which recorded Kansas as drought free two weeks ago.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

Last month, strong storms dropped more than 7 inches of rain over the Wichita area, and officials with Riverfest have been worried about the condition of the Arkansas River ahead of the event’s opening on Friday.

Strong currents have been recorded on the Arkansas River for weeks, which would have made the water too dangerous for popular festival attractions like pontoon boat rides, jet ski races and paddle boats. But persistent storms appear to have have slowed down just in time for the festival’s 45th year.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

Kansas Supreme Court Justice Caleb Stegall says it’s important for each of the state’s governmental branches to remain respectful. He said this as the issue of public school funding continues to play out over the next few weeks.

On Tuesday, State Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce told the Associated Press that Kansas Supreme Court Justices have “gone out of their way to pick a fight.” It was in reference to the state’s highest court deciding that an attempt by the Legislature to make school funding more equitable wasn’t good enough.

wikipedia.org

Westar Energy, Kansas’ largest electricity provider, is being acquired by Great Plains Energy for roughly $8.6 billion. The move could mean fewer rate increases in the future.

Great Plains Energy is the parent company of Kansas City Power and Light. When the sale becomes official, likely next spring, they will serve an estimated 1.5 million people.

Gina Penzig, a spokesperson for Westar, says that a bigger pool of customers means more money to deal with future regulations and infrastructure needs.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

Candidates running for office this fall could, in theory, call up a veritable army of support. For each party in every voting precinct, there’s a position for one committeeman and one committeewoman. Across Kansas, that would add up to roughly 14,000 precinct captains. But, most of the positions are likely to be left vacant for the 2016 elections.

Steven Lilley / flickr Creative Commons

Financial experts are warning veterans this Memorial Day weekend to look out for phone calls and emails from scammers. 

 

Last year, nearly 100,000 veterans reported that they were the target of scamming attempts, and more than half of those were related to either identity theft or credit card fraud.

The scams can come in the form of emails, phone calls and advertisements.

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