Ray Strunk

News Lab Intern

Ray Strunk is a communications student at Wichita State and an intern in the KMUW News Lab.

He is a washed-up Barton Community College tennis player and spends his evenings and weekends teaching the sport to people of all ages at Riverside Tennis Center.

When he's not writing stories or swinging a racquet, he likes searching for cool clothes at thrift shops, listening to podcasts and pretending to be funny on Twitter.

Daniel Spiess, flickr Creative Commons

If you plan to travel over the holiday season, now would be a good time to start booking flights.

Dean Headley, a Wichita State University marketing professor and co-creator of the annual Airline Quality Rating survey, said he expects to see a historically busy travel season this year.

“All the information I can garner is that we’re going to see one of the heaviest travel seasons we’ve seen possibly ever,” he said.

Headley said the increase is a result of the strong national economy.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW/File photo

The Wichita Meals on Wheels program needs volunteers.

The program said it loses student volunteers during the school year and many of its regular volunteers are on vacation or planning to be out of town for the holidays.

Volunteers work about one hour per day, delivering a noon meal to homebound residents across the city.

Meals on Wheels, which is run by Senior Services of Wichita, serves close to 900 people daily. The program currently has about 200 volunteers who prep and deliver the meals.

Volunteer Kansas Facebook

Volunteer Kansas is looking to help make volunteer work more efficient.

The Wichita nonprofit is set to host a free volunteer training conference on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at The Technology Specialist, 1823 S. Eisenhower.

The conference, titled “Leading the Way, Not Managing the Day,” is part of an international professional development collaboration between Volunteer Kansas and other volunteer organizations. Its aim is to develop leadership skills for people who work with volunteers, service-delivery programs or nonprofits.

KMUW file photo

The Kansas Food Bank is expanding.

Construction is set to begin this week on a 21,000-square-foot addition to the food bank’s existing warehouse near downtown.

Brian Walker, president of the food bank, said the current space doesn’t have enough room for the food bank’s nearly 5,000 yearly volunteers -- a number, he said, that continues to grow.

The $5 million expansion will include a space for the volunteers, who currently work in the main warehouse.


The Kansas State University Foundation had its second-best fundraising year in history.

The foundation announced Monday that it raised $174.2 million in fiscal year 2018.

Kansas State University announced plans to upgrade facilities for each of its 16 sports programs.

The $230 million-plus master plan was unveiled by Athletic Director Gene Taylor on Friday. The school said the projects will be financed through private donations.

The largest of the projects is an $85 million renovation of Bramlage Coliseum, the university's 30-year-old basketball stadium. This project will include a new grand entry and ticket office, along with space for a K-State athletics hall of fame.


Female veterans will soon have more health care options in Wichita.

The Dole VA Medical Center is set to open a women’s care facility on Sept. 28. The new building will be located on the center’s main campus on East Kellogg.

The $1.4 million facility will serve more than 1,500 female veterans who are currently enrolled at the medical center.

Akeam Ashford, a public affairs officer for the Wichita VA, said the medical center has lacked a private space for women.

neetalparekh / flickr Creative Commons

The Wichita Workforce Center will hold its largest annual job fair this week at Intrust Bank Arena.

Keith Lawing, president and CEO of the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, said he expects close to 1,000 job seekers and 75 employers to attend.

This year’s event, he said, will have a special emphasis on job seekers who have served in the military.

“Employers are particularly interested in seeking out veterans for positions,” Lawing said. “Part of the design of this job fair is really addressing those employer needs.”


The 2018 NCAA Tournament at Intrust Bank Arena is being hailed by Visit Wichita as a "huge win" for the local economy.

Out-of-town visitors generated an estimated $5.5 million in economic activity, while local residents spent an additional $3.5 million during the four-day basketball tournament, according to the Center for Economic Development and Business Research at Wichita State University. The result was about $500,000 in additional tax revenue for the city.

Tickets for the tournament sold out, aided by the appearance of the University of Kansas Jayhawks.

Courtesy art

Athletic arborists from across the world will race to the top of Wichita trees this weekend.

The North American Open Masters tree climbing championship will be held at Oak Park. The competition is set to feature 40 of the speediest climbers from Canada, Sweden, France and the United States — including two Wichita climbers.

According to its website, the event is a modern tree climbing competition that also demonstrates safe arboriculture work practices.