Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith is the Kansas Press Association’s journalist of the year. He has written award-winning news stories about the instability of the Kansas foster care system, misconduct by government officials, sexual abuse, technology, education, and the Legislature. He previously spent 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. A lifelong Kansan, he graduated from Emporia State University in 2004 as a Shepherd Scholar with a degree in English.

Kansas officials urge vaccination as concerns intensify over Delta variant

By: - June 29, 2021

TOPEKA — Kansas officials are pleading with residents to get a COVID-19 vaccine and protect themselves from the dangerous Delta variant sweeping through the Midwest. The variant appears to be far more contagious than any other strain to emerge since the start of the pandemic. The original virus and its mutations have killed 5,150 Kansans […]

Hutchinson working with MIT to break poverty shackles of the ‘cliff effect’

By: - June 27, 2021

TOPEKA — Shawna Logue recalls a time in her life when she earned $100 too much in annual income to qualify for government assistance to help feed her daughter. To make ends meet, the recently divorced mother sold the fancy dishes she had when she was married, and would try to find somebody who would […]

Kansas governor grants clemency to 8, embracing ‘political risk’ in rare use of power

By: - June 24, 2021

TOPEKA — Michael McCloud was overwhelmed with joy when he learned he wouldn’t have to return to prison for the rest of his life. Gov. Laura Kelly announced Thursday she would commute or pardon the sentences of McCloud and seven others based on an exhaustive review of more than 200 applicants for clemency. “This is […]

Grammy winner’s portrait of women Supreme Court justices headlines Sunflower Music Festival

By: - June 16, 2021

TOPEKA — Libby Larsen remembers how it felt in 1981 when the first woman was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. She was 30 years old and one of the country’s few women music composers with a PhD — “that has it’s own backstory,” she says — when Sandra Day O’Connor ascended to a position […]

Kansas Reflector opinion writer wins national award for online humor column

By: - June 15, 2021

TOPEKA — Kansas Reflector opinion contributor Max McCoy has won the National Society of Newspaper Columnists award for humor in an online publication. The organization announced its annual award winners Tuesday for 10 print and online categories of commentary. McCoy also received an honorable mention for general column writing. McCoy won the award for humor for […]

Kansas COVID-19 emergency will expire after GOP leaders refuse to meet

By: - June 15, 2021

TOPEKA — Senate President Ty Masterson announced Tuesday that GOP legislative leaders would force an end to the state’s emergency declaration for COVID-19 by refusing to meet and consider an extension. The decision means the 15-month emergency will expire at the end of Tuesday, abruptly ending executive orders and stressing the state’s ability to distribute […]

Kelly rescinding handful of executive orders, seeks extension of disaster declaration

By: and - June 14, 2021

Gov. Kelly requests Kansas legislative leaders endorse gradual removal of executive orders as need for COVID-19 disaster declaration wanes.

Lawmakers celebrate ‘biggest change in mental health in Kansas in 30 years’

By: - June 10, 2021

TOPEKA — Rep. Brenda Landwehr says she cried when the House passed legislation to certify and fund community behavioral health clinics. The Wichita Republican, who chairs the health committee, had worked to pass some sort of reform measure for several years before the COVID-19 pandemic escalated the need to address mental health services in Kansas. […]

Kansas picks 614 small communities for portion of federal relief package

By: - June 9, 2021

TOPEKA — Waldron Mayor Shirley Nelson was happy to learn her tiny south-central Kansas community is slated to receive $1,517.07 in federal pandemic relief. State officials on Wednesday revealed the list of 614 small communities that will receive American Rescue Plan funds administered by the state. Waldron, with a population that fluctuates from 10 to […]

After story of autistic boy’s death brings attention, foster mom urges Kansans to call legislators

By: - June 8, 2021

TOPEKA — Tina Miller has heard from families all over the state following publication last week of a Kansas Reflector investigation into the death of a 6-year-old foster child with autism. Miller, a Comanche County resident who has provided foster care to dozens of kids and adopted three, is telling other concerned foster parents to […]

Surging tax collections in Kansas reflect uncertainty of economic recovery

By: - June 4, 2021

TOPEKA — A sparkling state revenue report for May reflects the challenges of accurately predicting what will happen in a post-pandemic economy goosed by unprecedented streams of government stimulus. Even after a late-April adjustment to the state’s official revenue forecast, which provides the barometer lawmakers use to form tax deals and set spending levels, Kansas […]

‘This is a tragedy’: Lawmakers want accountability after death of Kansas foster child

By: - June 2, 2021

TOPEKA — Lawmakers say the death of an autistic boy in state custody demonstrates the need for more accountability within the Kansas foster care system. Kansas Reflector on Tuesday published the results of an investigation into the death in February of Aaron Carter, a 6-year-old boy with autism. Foster parents Tina and Jamie Miller, who […]