Sara Shepherd

Public safety reporter

Photo of Sara Shepherd

I'm the Journal-World's public safety reporter. I cover crime, courts, fire and related features in Lawrence and Douglas County and, sometimes, neighboring counties.

I’ve been a reporter at the Journal-World since 2012. Prior to taking over the public safety beat I covered the University of Kansas and higher education beat — including some of our local post-secondary institutions’ occasional, inevitable intersections with the law. Previously, I was the night police reporter for The Kansas City Star, where I covered untimely death or destruction most every day for a few years, everything from quadruple homicides to massive chemical fires. I’ve also covered suburban city government and schools for The Star and The Shawnee Dispatch, a suburban weekly paper just up the road in Johnson County.

I'm originally from Emporia, but I had ancestors living here in Lawrence when William Quantrill sacked the town in 1863 (they survived the massacre, probably thanks to being politically insignificant German immigrants). I’m also a fourth-generation KU grad, led by my great grandfather, who got his undergraduate and law degrees from KU. I majored in journalism, art history and French and wrote for The University Daily Kansan, where my reporting beat was campus police.

For local public safety news, see all the Journal-World’s recent stories here, and check out the Lights & Sirens blog.

To reach me, call 785-832-7187 or send email to Follow me on Twitter @saramarieshep.

Recent Stories

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KU student health center opens first clinic for employees

For the first time, Kansas University’s on-campus student health center is offering a medical clinic for KU employees. The Immediate Care Clinic at Watkins Health Services is not meant to replace primary care but treats acute problems like bone, joint, respiratory, gastrointestinal, urinary or skin issues.

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Good as new? KU tissue engineering steps in when injured bodies can't do it alone

Kansas University engineering professor Michael Detamore specializes in tissue engineering. In his labs at KU, he and students are building various replacement parts designed to transform over time into the real thing. Doctors encounter all kinds of injuries and conditions where the body can’t heal itself, Detamore said. “We’re trying to creatively solve those problems.” By Sara Shepherd

Some fear rate increases will keep more low-income Kansans from health insurance

The first full year of claims data since the Affordable Care Act insurance marketplace began is now tallied, and it appears rates for Kansans are going up as a result. That has some state and area health agency leaders concerned, especially for low-income residents. By Sara Shepherd

$250,000 grant to fund long-range business plan for Community Tool Box

Online resource developed at KU 20 years ago now used across the globe

In 1995 a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded Kansas University’s development of a free online resource called the Community Tool Box. Twenty years later, users worldwide rely on the Community Tool Box — it reports that more than 5.8 million visitors from 230 countries accessed the site in the past year — and the effort just received another Robert Wood Johnson grant of $250,000 to develop a long-range business plan to ensure its financial vitality in the future. By Sara Shepherd

Of mice and machines: Old, new technology mix in genomic research at KU Medical Center

A pairing of next-generation and century-old research methods is helping scientists at Kansas University Medical Center learn more about genetic disorders in children. The new is a roughly $1 million machine that can sequence a person’s DNA in as fast as two days. The old has been used in labs for a century or more: watching mice run mazes. By Sara Shepherd

Douglas County Community Foundation funds help meet needs

Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center provides important services for children. But it can be hard to get the youths physically there to take advantage of those services. This is one example of the type of hole that, for the past 15 years, the Douglas County Community Foundation has existed to fill. Whether arts or mental health, if it’s an area of the community in need, there’s a good chance it falls beneath the umbrella of the foundation. By Sara Shepherd

KU hospital among 11 penalized in Kansas

Kansas University Hospital representatives say a study resulting in cuts to its Medicare payments relied on old data and flawed methodology, and was particularly unfair to academic hospitals.

KU Hospital lauds study affirming treatment for serious strokes

When someone suffers a stroke, time is of the essence in preventing disability, or death. In addition to the standard clot-busting drugs, Kansas University Hospital has been attacking strokes with catheters to vacuum or snare out clots in the brain for a decade. A new medical journal article lauding the practice as effective in treating serious strokes came as no surprise but was still exciting news to KU doctors. By Sara Shepherd

'Strings attached': Mental health treatment required to get this rent subsidy

Ruby DoMoe spent years bouncing from hospital to homeless shelter to friends’ couches to battered women’s shelter and back again. That lifestyle only made her mental illness worse. Which made her ability to maintain housing worse. “It was chaos,” DoMoe said. “It was just darkness and chaos all the time, drama coming from every direction. There was no letting up.” Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center has a program for people like DoMoe, who need more than just financial help to maintain stable housing. The HOME Tenant Based Rental Assistance program — part of Bert Nash’s Community Support Services for people with severe and persistent mental illness — provides a rent subsidy bolstered by intensive mental health treatment. By Sara Shepherd

Weather smiles on 20th annual Brew to Brew run

This weekend’s 20th annual Brew to Brew run attracted thousands of entrants, who enjoyed near-perfect spring weather for the 40-plus mile Kansas City-to-Lawrence relay. By Sara Shepherd

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