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’s budget proposal for 2021 addresses staffing needs in several departments while keeping funding flat in most other areas.

County Manager Tom Stolz released the recommended budget Wednesday at the county commission meeting. Budgets for Sedgwick County government and Fire District 1 total about $458 million, about the same as last year.

Stolz said the spending plan takes into account that the county is still in COVID-19 pandemic response mode.

Hugo Phan / KMUW

Sedgwick County’s top health official has issued a mandatory face mask order, the latest effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

KMUW/File photo

Sedgwick County is having trouble getting people to participate in a countywide COVID-19 study.

County health officials are trying to recruit 1,400 randomly selected people to be tested for COVID-19. The test results would help determine the spread of the coronavirus in the community.

Fernando Salazar

Sedgwick County is using three strategies for COVID-19 testing to get a better sense of disease spread in the community.

The county opened up its free testing to people who don’t have any COVID-19 symptoms, began a random testing program and created a mobile testing unit to reach vulnerable populations.

Primaries will be held in August for both seats on the Sedgwick County Commission up for election this year.

Voters will decide Republican primaries on Aug. 4 and contested races in November.

Current commissioners Michael O’Donnell and David Dennis are running for second terms. The two Republicans were both elected in 2016.

Hugo Phan / KMUW

Sedgwick County is leaving the next COVID-19 recovery steps up to businesses and residents.

County commissioners decided Wednesday not to impose any additional restrictions on how and when the local economy continues to reopen.

Instead, the county is recommending — but not requiring — that the guidelines outlined in the state’s phased reopening plan continue.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

The Sedgwick County Zoo reopens to the public Thursday with new COVID-19-related safety precautions.

The zoo closed to visitors March 14 to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in the community.

Members were the first to return during a soft opening this week. Zoo executive director Jeff Ettling says the staff has been working on a phased-in reopening plan since the first day of the shutdown.

Hugo Phan / KMUW

People across south-central Kansas had a chance to see Wichita’s hometown military aircraft in flight Wednesday morning.

Three tankers from McConnell Air Force Base and the restored B-29 bomber named “Doc” flew in formation to honor frontline COVID-19 workers.

The special flyover began in Newton shortly after 10 a.m. and ended in El Dorado. The planes flew single file over Wichita, Derby, Andover, Garden Plain and Haysville on a path that took them past 11 hospitals.

Fernando Salazar, File Photo

Now that Kansas is slowly reopening, health officials are preparing for what could be a busy few months of COVID-19 investigations.

Hugo Phan / KMUW/File photo

A special military air convoy is scheduled to fly over south-central Kansas on Wednesday morning.

Two KC-135 Stratotankers and a KC-46 Pegasus tanker from McConnell Air Force Base along with the restored B-29 bomber known as “Doc” are taking part in the flight.

The team wants to honor health care workers, first responders and other essential personnel for their response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The aircraft will fly over 11 hospitals in Wichita, Derby, Newton, Andover, Garden Plain, Haysville and El Dorado. The flight begins around 10 a.m. and lasts about an hour.