WRITER: Chad Lawhorn

New numbers show who is dying of COVID-19 in Kansas; elderly are most likely to die, but middle-aged most likely to contract disease

We now have more detailed data on who is dying from COVID-19 in Kansas. As many suspected, the elderly are suffering the highest number of deaths, but that doesn’t mean you have to be old to get the virus. People between the ages of 35 and 44 have been the most likely to get the disease. As we reported last week, Kansas Department of Health and Environment officials hadn’t been reporting on the age of ...

Sales tax numbers don't yet show the big drop to come; Kansans saw their earnings rise in 2019, but at below-average rate

We kind of are in a Road Runner cartoon moment. It is that point of the episode where Wile E. Coyote is running toward the cliff. We all know he is going to drop off the cliff, and, surely after all these episodes, he does, too. That’s where Lawrence and the state are when it comes to sales tax collections. The cliff is getting very near. The Kansas Department of Revenue released its latest sales tax numbers ...

Local unemployment now near 14%, but another COVID chart is encouraging for Douglas County

News and notes from around town, with a heavy dose of COVID-19 numbers, and information on a furlough policy that has some Hallmark employees upset. — The unemployment numbers are still grim for Douglas County, but now we have more company. The latest estimate compiled by researchers at the University of Kansas pegs unemployment in Douglas County at 13.6%. That’s up from 11.3% a week ago, according to ...

Developers file new set of plans for south Lawrence shopping center, adding apartment complex to the mix

Someday, we will shop again, and developers are still hopeful that it will be at a new shopping center just south of the South Lawrence Trafficway and U.S. Highway 59 interchange. Another set of plans have been filed for the long-debated shopping center, and this time they have a major twist — the shopping center is smaller, but the plans now call for an apartment complex to be built next to it. “It is ...

Photos: Lawrence watches flyover to thank health care workers, first responders

From workers on top of a roof to a 13-year-old with a big sign for his favorite nurse at LMH Health — his mom — Lawrence took a moment on Tuesday to stop and watch a flyover that was designed to thank health care workers and first responders during the coronavirus pandemic. A total of 19 planes from two Kansas-City-based aviation clubs, BeechNutz and KC Flight, flew over Lawrence's hospital and fire stations ...

A Lawrence flyover planned for Tuesday aims to thank health care workers and other first responders

Look up to the Lawrence skies tomorrow to see a little bit of thanks for the frontline workers battling COVID-19. More specifically, brush that Sasquatch hairdo out of your eyes and you’ll see an old-fashioned flyover. A pair of aviation teams from Kansas City plan to take to the Lawrence skies near 1:30 p.m. to conduct a flyover to thank health care workers and others who are serving patients. The Lawrence ...

Unemployment rate for food workers nearly 25% in Kansas, but arts industry is even higher; Douglas County rate jumps again

There are no shortages of industries to feel sorry for during this pandemic, but new figures suggest employees in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector may be the hardest hit in Kansas thus far. More than one out of every three workers in that industry are now likely unemployed in Kansas, according to the latest data. While the industry doesn’t have the largest number of actual people unemployed — ...

From a T-shirt to a Zoom background, a pair of Lawrence nonprofits get creative with COVID-19

In the old days — i.e. two months ago — a T-shirt with a message on its back warning people to stay at least 6 feet away would have seemed crass. Somebody surely would have made a joke that it was a public health message. Now, of course, it actually is, and a Lawrence neighborhood is making and selling such shirts. The North Lawrence Improvement Association has partnered with North Lawrence-based Happy ...

Nearly 60,000 Kansans were on unemployment last week; pace of new filings slows in Douglas County and statewide

Another 1,200 Douglas County residents filed for unemployment insurance last week, as nearly 60,000 Kansans received unemployment payments of some kind. In its weekly report, the Kansas Department of Labor says 30,786 people last week made initial claims for unemployment benefits. Those are still historically high numbers, but they represent a big decline from initial unemployment claims during the last two ...

Return to face-to-face classes still uncertain for fall semester, Kansas Regents told; idea of making freshmen live on campus at KU touted

A return to normal face-to-face classes this fall at the University of Kansas and other Regents schools is far from a certainty, the state’s higher education leaders were told Wednesday. Members of the Kansas Board of Regents heard a variety of updates on how schools are planning to deal with fall-semester classes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While university leaders did not provide specific details ...

LMH Health expecting surge of COVID-19 cases to come later than expected; hospital details state of readiness

LMH Health leaders are now expecting Douglas County’s surge of COVID-19 cases to occur near April 29, which is about 10 days later than once projected. But the hospital’s chief executive officer is expecting the impacts of the pandemic to last much longer at the hospital and in the community. “We have to be mentally preparing for not only the moment we are in, but for the next two or three or four or ...

KU research estimates Lawrence's unemployment is among state's highest; full-service gas pumps make a comeback

It is already clear that the math on the job loss front is going to get pretty painful as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. But researchers at the University of Kansas have done some calculations that show that the pain may be higher in Douglas County than in many parts of the state. Using unemployment data from just the last three weeks, researchers at KU’s Institute for Policy and Social Research are ...

Technology problems, delays in filing for Kansas unemployment get much worse; website essentially down

Updated at 5:45 p.m. Monday Kansans seeking to file unemployment claims are now facing even larger hurdles as the state’s website became all but inoperable over the weekend. On Monday morning, a leader with the Kansas Department of Labor — which oversees the unemployment system — was urging people to call the department rather than use the website. That is the opposite of what labor department leaders ...

In trying to find the COVID-19 peak, Douglas County and state numbers look much different

Updated 7:40 p.m. Thursday I don’t know much about peaks, other than I reached my one for growth in the sixth grade and, some say, the one for intellect a year earlier. The one everybody is trying to measure now, of course, is when COVID-19 will peak so that I can get more than a peek inside my favorite hamburger joint. A journalist — especially a hungry one — shouldn’t be the person to declare when ...

More than 27K new people added to Kansas unemployment rolls; payments increase by $11 million in one week

Millions of additional unemployment dollars did start flowing to Kansans last week, according to the latest numbers from state officials, but technology problems are still stopping many from applying for the benefits. Kansas paid $14.8 million in unemployment benefits for the week ending April 4, which was up from $3.8 million the week before, according to the weekly report from the Kansas Department of Labor. ...

Hallmark to keep Lawrence plant closed for at least 3 more weeks; employees to be furloughed

One of Lawrence’s largest manufacturers will be shut down for at least another three weeks, and many of its approximately 800 employees will need to start filing for unemployment. Hallmark confirmed that its Lawrence production center would be closed until April 27. The company temporarily closed the greeting card plant, which is near the West Lawrence interchange on the Kansas Turnpike, on March 23. At that ...

Kansas unemployment leaders offer tips for self-employed workers, new guidance on when to access state's website

More advice — and more pleas for patience — are flowing from the state officials responsible for getting Kansans signed up for unemployment benefits. “Thank you for your patience with us,” Delía García, secretary of the Kansas Department of Labor, said in a webcast Tuesday. “We know we have a lot of things to go through and fix to make sure we are serving you.” The department has been dealing ...

Before COVID-19, things were looking up in the Lawrence economy, new numbers suggest

We all probably will have plenty of feelings about 2020, although I likely won’t be able to quote many of them in a family-friendly newspaper. It may be worth remembering, though, that at the beginning of the year we seemed optimistic. At least the latest sales tax numbers from the state suggest Lawrence shoppers were in a spending mood. The state has released its March sales tax report, and it generally was ...

Kansas unemployment officials say they are now starting to process extra $600 payments called for in federal bill

Officials with Kansas’ unemployment program are now working on adding an extra $600 per week to unemployment checks of Kansas residents, after previously having waited to start the process until they heard more from federal officials. When Kansas residents, though, will start seeing the larger unemployment checks is still unclear. In a video posted to its Facebook page Monday, the Kansas Department of Labor ...

Latest data shows manufacturing — not restaurants — producing biggest job losses in Kansas

There are plenty of signs that the restaurant industry is hurting in Kansas, but less clear is that the state’s manufacturing sector is also getting hammered. In fact, the latest numbers from state officials suggest it was a more brutal week for the manufacturing sector than it was for even the restaurant and hospitality industry. The latest numbers from the Kansas Department of Labor show that, for the week ...