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

Doug Kerr / Flickr Creative Commons

The outlook of $2.1 billion worth of highway revenue bonds in Kansas has changed from stable to negative, according to a report from the bond rating service Moody’s Investors Service.

Steven Depolo / flickr Creative Commons

An organization that wants to lift the 3.2 alcohol limit for grocery stores and gas stations thinks they’ve got a plan that may help provide millions of dollars for the cash-strapped Kansas Legislature.

The group wants to push through legislation allowing grocery stores to buy full liquor licenses directly from the state, and for convenience stores like Quik Trip to purchase licenses to sell full-strength beer.

Jessica Lucas, a spokesperson for Uncork Kansas, says the plan would generate about $40 million, with some licenses going for as much as $200,000.

wichita.edu

Wichita State University held an entrepreneurship conference on Thursday at the Hyatt Regency downtown. The event featured several speakers who outlined the data behind startup businesses both large and small.

weather.gov

The American Red Cross is prepared for the possibility of severe weather this afternoon. As KMUW’s Sean Sandefur reports, the state has 700 volunteers who handle disasters.

Twenty-five years ago an F5 tornado ripped through Andover and Haysville, killing 17 people. Today there is a threat of another massive spring storm.

Michelle Jantz, director of the Midway Kansas Red Cross, says her organization has hundreds of volunteers ready to respond to disasters in Kansas and throughout the Kansas/Nebraska and Southwest Iowa region.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

Sedgwick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn is up for re-election this year, and he could have a potential challenger in Goddard Mayor Marcey Gregory.

401(K) 2012 / Flickr Creative Commons

The City of Wichita waives millions of dollars in tax revenue each year in the name of economic development. It’s called tax abatement, and it allows private companies to forgo certain tax burdens for a set amount of years. The plan is to help businesses expand, improve and hire more staff. Tax abatements are a common practice in cities across the country. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur explores how these incentives work, and whether they’re effective.

wichita.hyatt.com

The City of Wichita is looking to sell the Hyatt Regency Hotel, which sits at the banks of the Arkansas River downtown.

The city acquired the hotel for more than $18 million in 2001, when the original developers were looking to sell the property. The city was concerned that the flagship “Hyatt” name would be rebranded under a less-notable company.

City officials say they are now ready to see what the hotel can fetch on the open market.

Tony Webster / Flickr Creative Commons

Wichita City Council members have approved a new ordinance regulating massage therapists and businesses.

The city hopes the regulations will eliminate illegal activity.

The Wichita Police Department began investigated massage parlors in 2014 after the city received complaints about possible prostitution.

Adam Moss / Flickr Creative Commons

Amtrak service is returning to Wichita for the first time since 1979. The company has announced new bus routes to both Newton and Oklahoma City.

According to Amtrak, the last time one of their trains had direct service to Wichita was in 1979, when the Lone Star route traveled from Houston to Chicago. Those hoping for train service to come back will have to settle for a bus.

The company announced two bus routes will connect Wichita to the Southwest Chief train, which rolls through Newton, and the Heartland Flyer, which goes through Oklahoma City.

Flazingo Photos, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Department of Labor has released its jobs report for March. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate came in at 3.9 percent, slightly lower than February’s 4 percent.

The unemployment rate for March was also lower than March of 2015, which recorded a rate of 4.3 percent. That’s a growth of nearly 23,000 jobs, according to the Kansas Department of Labor.

The report also states that 2,500 non-farm jobs were created from February to March, most of which was seen in private sector areas like trade, transportation and utilities.

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