Deborah Shaar

News Reporter

Award-winning news reporter Deborah Shaar covers Sedgwick County, and produces short and in-depth stories about government, education, health, politics, arts and community topics. She joined the KMUW News team in 2014. Before that, Deborah spent more than a dozen years working in newsrooms at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Michigan. She also taught news and broadcasting classes at a Texas college.

Deborah’s reporting has earned prestigious national, regional and state awards for excellence in journalism. She won a national Sigma Delta Chi award from Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) in 2017 for investigative reporting.

Her reporting has earned three regional RTDNA Edward R. Murrow awards: in 2018, for hard news and news feature; and in 2016, for investigative reporting.

Since 2015, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters (KAB) has recognized Deborah’s reporting annually with awards in categories such as spot news, hard newsnews featuresports feature and severe weather coverage.

Deborah began her on-air career as a news reporter and anchor at several small market TV stations in southeast Ohio and West Virginia. She fine-tuned her writing and producing skills while working on a highly rated three-hour morning news show at the Fox TV affiliate in Detroit, Michigan.

From there, she leveraged her on-air, writing and producing skills to train and develop broadcast news students at Ohio University for the WOUB radio and television newsroom. As managing editor, Deborah supervised a student-staff that produced a nightly television newscast, and radio stories. A move to central Ohio brought an opportunity for Deborah to work as a fill-in news anchor for a statewide cable TV news network.

Deborah earned Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in journalism from Ohio University. Her master’s thesis is a historical narrative about the transformation of journalism training at the University of Leipzig, Germany, as a result of Germany’s reunification.

Ways to Connect


Sedgwick County plans to offer a rapid response saliva test to detect COVID-19 beginning next week.

The test will be available at the county’s drive-thru testing location in east Wichita and at mobile outreach testing sites. The county will also continue to offer the nasopharyngeal swab sampling it has conducted since March.

Deputy County Manager Tim Kaufman says a few other sites like nursing homes will also have the saliva test available in the first phase of the rollout. The plan is to gradually provide the test to health clinics that do COVID-19 sampling.

Stephan Bisaha / Kansas News Service/File photo

A panel of Sedgwick County leaders dismissed an effort to remove a Democratic candidate from a Sedgwick County Commission race.

The panel of three officials ruled Monday that Sarah Lopez will remain on the ballot for the 2nd District county commission seat. She is running against Republican Michael O’Donnell, who is seeking a second term.

Former O’Donnell campaign worker John Whitmer, a Republican, filed an objection with the county election office last week questioning whether Lopez lived in the 2nd District.

Fernando Salazar

A mask mandate and other COVID safety precautions will continue in Sedgwick County for at least the next three weeks, and maybe longer.

KMUW/File photo

A team that responds to emergency calls involving mental health crisis situations in Sedgwick County now has the support to continue beyond a trial run.

Brian Grimmett / KMUW/File photo

If you get tested for COVID-19 through the Sedgwick County Health Department, you can now find out your results on a website instead of waiting for a phone call or letter.

The county created a secure website for people to retrieve their results about five days after a test. The new service began Tuesday.

“It should really cut down on the amount of time it takes for people to get their information, particularly those folks that have negative results,” said Deputy County Manager Tim Kaufman.

Sedgwick County

Sedgwick County plans to install more than a dozen ballot drop boxes ahead of the November general election.

The drop boxes will be placed strategically in cities around Sedgwick County as a convenient option for voters to return their advance mail ballot.

Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman says the boxes are part of COVID-19-related safety precautions for elections. She says the boxes will also help ease voter concerns about postmarks and an overwhelmed postal service.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

Voters picked Michael O’Donnell as the winner of the Republican primary for Sedgwick County Commission’s 2nd District.

File / U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Wikipedia

The Sedgwick County Health Department is no longer doing COVID-19 contact tracing investigations.


Two seats are up for election on the Sedgwick County Commission this year, and both incumbents face primary challenges.

In the 2nd District, Commissioner Michael O’Donnell has two Republican opponents: Cindy Miles and Kathleen Garrison.

Sedgwick County, YouTube

A new public health order in Sedgwick County shuts down bars and nightclubs, and further limits the size of gatherings.

Sedgwick County’s health officer Dr. Garold Minns issued the restrictions Wednesday in response to a surge of coronavirus infections. The emergency public health order he signed replaces the one issued on July 9.

Minns says the mandatory mask policy is working, but now it’s time to pull back on community activity.