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LATEST NEWS

‘Storm of Addiction’ Part 2: Sober and ready to fight

This is the second part of a two-part series. Read the first part here: “How a Kansas woman emerged from the storm of addiction to fight fentanyl.” This story contains references to drug use, addiction and overdose. When Ashley Alexander found her fiance, Dustin Gotham, lying on the bathroom floor with a needle in his…

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Kimmie Pahdocony-Zotigh works to keep her Kiowa story alive

This story contains references to sexual abuse and self-harm.  Stories are the lifeblood of any culture, and for the Kiowa, each person’s name holds a story within. When names are passed down, so are the stories, providing each generation a connection to the past. Kimmie Pahdocony-Zotigh cannot pronounce her Kiowa name because like most of…

‘You become what you grow up around,’ says Youth of the Year

Khaai Wilson could have had a very different life – one that didn’t include good parents teaching him to make the good choices that led to being named 2023 Youth of the Year by the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas. The award recognizes the club member who best embodies academic success, good…

‘I am the magic’: How Michelle Leo found her way back

This story contains references to sexual abuse, self-harm and drug use.  When 24-year-old Michelle Leo tells her story it does not have a beginning, a middle and an end.  It does come with a trigger warning: Leo wants you to know it’s going to be dark and maybe you won’t want to hear it.  Stories…

Muslim in Kansas: Taben Azad’s quest to belong

Sometimes you love a place that doesn’t love you back. Taben Azad loves his family, his faith and his hometown. But as a Kansas-born Muslim it’s hard for him to find a sense of belonging. “I’m too Muslim to be American, and I’m too American to be Muslim,” Azad says. “I don’t feel like I…

Armando Minjárez hopes to highlight the humanity of Wichita’s immigrants

Armando Minjárez was once an undocumented immigrant, a status that put him on a path to both art and activism. The multidisciplinary artist and organizer moved to Wichita in 2012 to co-found the grassroots organization The Seed House/Casa de la Semilla. But he is best known for directing Horizontes, the public-art and documentary project that…

‘Don’t treat them different’: One formerly homeless Wichitan on what the city needs

It started with a recipe he concocted on his own — Southern-style barbecue chicken spaghetti. But pretty soon, Joseph “J.W.” Harris was spreading the cooking gospel to his neighbors and friends at The Studios, a permanent-housing apartment complex for people experiencing homelessness. In April, he led his first cooking class at the complex on North Topeka…

‘They were villainized’: Daniel Pewewardy challenges Native American stereotypes through comedy and film

Daniel Pewewardy is best known to Wichita audiences as a stand-up comedian and creator of memes, those jokey combinations of text and images that fill your social media feeds.  But over the past few years, the 36-year-old has found their way back to filmmaking, which they studied as an undergraduate at Oklahoma State University. Pewewardy,…

Why Jonathan Marr is Sedgwick County’s 2022 Public Service Award winner

From Seattle to Baghdad to the Marshall Islands, Jonathan Marr has worked as a firefighter all over the globe.   But Marr, deputy director for Sedgwick County Emergency Management, moved to Wichita in 2019. And he’s made his mark since doing so.  After becoming deputy director in 2020, Marr conducted in-depth research into the county’s aging…

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