Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith is the 2021 and 2022 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. He is a lifelong Kansan.

Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said Monday growth of COVID-19 across Kansas affirmed the necessity of people to adhere to recommendations to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas names businesses, schools, churches, long-term care facilities with COVID-19 outbreaks

By: - September 9, 2020

TOPEKA — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment on Wednesday released for the first time the names and places associated with active outbreaks of COVID-19 across the state. The list includes seven Greek houses at Kansas State University, plus eight other universities and colleges, more than two-dozen long-term care facilities, nine private businesses, four […]

Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said the state wouldn't plan to inoculate children for COVID-19 because the vaccines hadn't been approved for younger people. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas health secretary wary of Lake Perry motorcycle rally: ‘I’m sure we’ll see an outbreak’

By: - September 2, 2020

TOPEKA — Kansas health secretary Lee Norman renewed warnings Wednesday about rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, including a deadly two-day spike, and cautioned Kansans against participating in a large motorcycle rally planned for Lake Perry. State officials also announced they plan to reveal the locations of outbreaks — a decision previously delegated to county officials […]

Bryan Caskey, elections director for the Kansas Secretary of State's office, notified Sen. Julia Lynn on Wednesday she would remain on the November ballot. (Sherman Smtih/Kansas Reflector)

Sen. Julia Lynn flubs paperwork, will remain on November ballot

By: - September 2, 2020

The Kansas Secretary of State’s office on Wednesday denied Sen. Julia Lynn’s last-minute effort to drop off the November ballot. Lynn announced her plans to retire on Tuesday, the deadline to be removed from the ballot, citing her sister’s failing health. Kansas law allows candidates to quit after the primary if they have a severe […]

Kansas Sen. Julia Lynn to retire from Legislature, asks to drop off ballot

By: - September 1, 2020

TOPEKA — Kansas Sen. Julie Lynn announced Tuesday she will retire from the Legislature to care for her ailing sister, and asked to remove her name from the November ballot. The Olathe Republican has served in the Legislature since 2006 and was chairwoman of the Commerce Committee for the past eight years. “Due to personal, […]

Kansas primary recorded unprecedented volume of votes

By: - August 28, 2020

TOPEKA — Nearly 150,000 more Kansans turned out to vote in this year’s primary than ever before, including an unprecedented surge from mail-in ballots. Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Gov. Laura Kelly convened as the state’s canvassing board Friday to certify results from 636,032 votes. That figure tops the […]

Angelica Hale says she plans to ask a federal judge to reconsider his decision to award her just nine months worth of back pay. She left Emporia State University in July 2015, citing a hostile work environment after she complained about the university's handling of a racial slur. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Former Emporia State University employee not happy with $64K ruling for discrimination

By: and - August 27, 2020

TOPEKA — A federal judge has ordered Emporia State University to pay $64,000 to a former employee who faced retaliation after reporting a racist slur in 2015. Angelica Hale, 58, had argued for at least $500,000 to cover wages and benefits she would have earned if she had been allowed to stay at the university […]

Hundreds of police supporters demonstrate for a Back the Blue rally Tuesday in downtown Topeka ahead of a special council meeting to discuss potential police reform. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Hundreds rally in Topeka to ‘back the blue’ in clash with Black Lives Matter

By: - August 25, 2020

TOPEKA — Hundreds of police supporters gathered Tuesday afternoon outside the capital’s city hall to protest demands by Black Lives Matter. Standing in sweltering heat, they chanted “back the blue,” joined in prayer, sang “God Bless America,” and cheered speakers, including three Republican candidates for the Kansas Legislature, who urged them to brace for a […]

Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla, the Democratic nominee for Congress in the 2nd District, laughs during a news conference Tuesday about the suggestion by Kim Borchers that the mayor is angling for the "woke vote" by pursuing police reform. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Politics, misinformation undermine Topeka debate on police reform

By: - August 25, 2020

Kim Borchers wants Topeka residents to be afraid. Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla wants people to stop paying attention to lies they see online. A Kansas delegate to the Republican National Convention, Borchers hurled a Molotov cocktail of misinformation, anger and fear into public debate on police reform during a live Facebook video earlier […]

Federal authorities indicted organizers for the We Build the Wall campaign for allegedly lying about not taking personal payments. The hardline immigration group funded construction of a wall on private land along the Rio Grande. (Dec. 11, 2019, photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Bannon, others indicted in scheme to siphon We Build the Wall funds

By: - August 20, 2020

TOPEKA — Federal authorities on Thursday announced the indictment of Steve Bannon, Brian Kolfage and two others for siphoning payments from a crowdsourced fund to privately build a border wall with Mexico. Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who serves as general counsel for the nonprofit that manages the $25 million campaign, isn’t named […]

Democrat Aaron Coleman, of Kansas City, Kan., says controversy about his stalking women while in middle school and other issues lead him to believe it best to quit his race for the 37th District seat in the Kansas House. He won the August primary against Rep. Stan Frownfelter. (Submitted to Kansas Reflector)

Frownfelter to attempt write-in campaign

By: - August 18, 2020

Democratic Rep. Stan Frownfelter will attempt to hang onto his seat in the Kansas Legislature through a write-in campaign after losing a primary challenge to a teenager who wished death on Republicans and admitted to distributing revenge porn. Aaron Coleman, 19, will be the only name on the November ballot for the 37th District legislative […]

Former Emporia resident Brandon Flint, seen Wednesday in downtown Sioux City, Iowa, spent five years wrangling with the legal system in Kansas. With the help of Carl Folsom, the public defender maligned by Senate Republicans in June, the Army veteran testified before the Legislature and eventually cleared his name. (Jerry L. Mennenga for Kansas Reflector)

Before Kansas Senate snubbed Carl Folsom, he helped veteran beat faulty felony

By: - August 13, 2020

TOPEKA — Emporia authorities didn’t view Brandon Flint’s actions favorably when he walked out of a nightclub in 2008 and rescued his fiancee from an attack by two men. The U.S. Army veteran, who had served two tours in Iraq, retrieved a handgun from his car and pointed his weapon at the attackers as they […]

Foster care providers received millions in Payment Protection Loans to adapt services, which include food donations, during the pandemic. (KVC Kansas)

Foster care providers turned to PPP loans as pandemic intensified family stress

By: - August 9, 2020

TOPEKA — Foster care agencies in Kansas leaned on large federally backed loans during the pandemic to avoid furloughs and acquire technology needed to provide services to thousands of suddenly isolated children and their caretakers. As most of the state sheltered in place, uncertainty over the rapidly spreading deadly pathogen heightened stress and financial pressures […]