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.

CDC finds E. coli in water samples from Goddard park

By: - July 2, 2021

Water samples from a Goddard splash pad linked to widespread illness contained E. coli, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Friday. KDHE began investigating the Tanganyika Wildlife Park after learning June 18 that numerous visitors to the park’s splash pad had reported being sick. Some cases required hospital attention. Water samples collected by […]

Kansas groups halt voter registration drives to avoid being jailed under new law

By: - July 1, 2021

TOPEKA — The League of Women Voters of Kansas and other nonprofits are suspending voter registration drives for fear of criminal prosecution under a new state law. The groups filed a lawsuit over new election-related restrictions enacted by the Legislature this session, and a judge has yet to act on a request for a temporary […]

Sexual predator escapes custody from Kansas mental ward

By: - June 30, 2021

TOPEKA — State authorities are searching for a man who escaped custody Wednesday from a sexual predator program at the state psychiatric facility in Larned. Surveillance video shows John Colt, 42, at 7 a.m. walked away from Larned State Hospital after shaving his beard, changing his hair and using a fraudulent ID badge to get […]

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 […]