WRITER: Chad Lawhorn

A conversation with Mayor Lisa Larsen on city-county cooperation, a new fire chief, downtown growth

One of the things I hope to do more of over the next year or so is have face-to-face conversations with more community leaders. While sitting across from my face is a lot to ask of someone, I’m hopeful to do such interviews with community leaders on a semi-regular basis. I’ll call it a "Conversation With ..." and it will become a new addition to the Town Talk lineup. So, first up, a Conversation With ...

New North Lawrence skateboard shop plans to ride growing popularity of sport

Maybe I'll do a melon-grab when I'm on the half-pipe. All right, I confess, I don't know what any of that means — and probably shouldn't guess — because I can't speak skater lingo. Whenever I get on a skateboard it's not words, but numbers — like the type on my insurance card — that take precedence. But there are plenty who do speak the language, and they once again have their own store in ...

Associated Press Executive Editor touts value of 'good old-fashioned facts' at KU awards ceremony

Associated Press Executive Editor Sally Buzbee remembers how her fellow journalists at the AP were being labeled as unpatriotic in the mid-2000s when they reported the war in Iraq was going poorly for the U.S. “I thought the U.S. was over that sort of thing,” said Buzbee, who was the AP’s Middle East regional editor at the time. “Hadn’t Vietnam taught us to listen to those on the ground?” Buzbee ...

New pub featuring 1,000 board games, plus mead, plans to open in downtown Lawrence

I no longer drink beer when I play Monopoly. I’ve hurt myself too many times falling off the Boardwalk. But booze and board games, plus some food, is precisely the type of activity that will be encouraged at a restaurant and pub in the works for downtown Lawrence. A Lawrence duo has reached a deal to open Trader’s Cache at 724 Massachusetts St., in the spot that used to house the Latin American restaurant ...

Lawrence's Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade in jeopardy of shutting down after this year; organizers say they are stepping down

One of Lawrence’s most beloved holiday traditions may be ending. Organizers of Lawrence’s Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade — the horse-drawn spectacle in downtown — say they plan on quitting after this year’s event. That means someone else will have to take the reins, or else this year’s event — slated for the first Saturday in December — will be the last. If so, it would mark the end of a ...

Questions about missing money and documents at Clinton State Park have state ready to investigate

After being presented with evidence of accounting irregularities, leaders with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism have said they’re launching an investigation into cash-handling practices at the state park near Lawrence. But already the effort is facing a roadblock: The public documents that could prove the case have mysteriously turned up missing. “They were stolen by someone for some ...

Briggs Auto Group agrees to sell its remaining Lawrence dealerships; large Kansas City-area dealer is the buyer

Get ready for a brand new player in the Lawrence auto market. McCarthy Auto Group, which owns nine dealerships in Missouri and the greater Kansas City area, soon will own two in Lawrence. A McCarthy official confirmed today that it has reached a deal to buy the Lawrence Nissan and Subaru dealerships currently owned by Manhattan-based Briggs Auto Group. The deal, once completed, will mark the end of the ...

East Lawrence garden center undertakes major expansion, launches effort to partner with Just Food

Some of you may still have a green thumb left over from St. Patrick’s Day. (I told you that was way too much food coloring for a pint of beer.) For the rest of us, green thumb syndrome is about the start of gardening season. I do have news of an eastern Lawrence garden center expansion, which also involves an effort to grow food for the hungry. One Heart Farm and Nursery has been operating kind of quietly ...

Dale Willey Auto Group reaches deal to buy another Lawrence dealership

Big changes continue to happen in the local auto market. It looks like one of the larger out-of-town auto dealers is preparing to exit Lawrence and be replaced by a locally owned operation. I’ve received confirmation that Lawrence-based Dale Willey Auto Group has signed an agreement to begin managing the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealership owned by Manhattan-based Briggs Auto Group. Jeff Hornbeck, ...

On the Border Mexican restaurant closes its lone Lawrence location

I have experience with a border wall. I usually hit one after about my 12th refill of chips and salsa at On the Border. Well, that’s one wall no one will have to worry about any longer. The Mexican restaurant chain has closed its lone Lawrence location. On the Border closed its location at 31st and Iowa streets on Sunday, and by Monday morning crews already had removed the big sign from the restaurant. I ...

For McDonald's owner, cup of coffee led to new Lawrence car wash business

Rodger Henry got his money’s worth out of his cup of coffee at McDonald’s. The longtime Lawrence businessman is part of a group that regularly drinks coffee at the McDonald’s at 1309 W. Sixth St. Right across the street from the McDonald’s is a car wash that Henry owned. One day, he asked Tom Dobski, an owner of the local McDonald’s franchises, whether he would ever be interested in owning a car ...

Local home sales show signs of a slowdown; new report shows difference in home prices between Lawrence, Baldwin, Eudora

When you talk about housing activity this time of year in Lawrence, it usually involves a KU game on the television, approximately 32 pounds of cheese dip and maybe a bit too much crimson and blue body paint. But actually, I’m talking about housing activity of a different type today. The latest home sales numbers are out, and they do show a slowdown might be in the making. Thus far in 2019, home sales in ...

Casey's General Store files plans for second Lawrence location

I would guess there is a benefit to living in a town with two Casey’s General Stores. You can buy breakfast pizza at one and brunch pizza at the other. Lawrence residents soon may get to find out. Casey’s has filed a plan for a second store in Lawrence. The Iowa-based convenience store chain has filed plans to build on the site of the former Steak ‘n Shake restaurant at 3111 S. Nieder Road. If you have ...

East Lawrence brewery plans to open new location in west Lawrence; projected opening date for Fields & Ivy brewery

You had better get some industrial-strength kneepads if you want to participate in a Lawrence Beer Co. pub crawl. The East Lawrence craft brewery has filed plans to open a west Lawrence location. The company plans to open a smaller bar and restaurant near Bob Billings Parkway and Wakarusa Drive. Plans call for the new location to open by midsummer at 4811 Bob Billings Parkway. If you are having a hard time ...

Biscuits, not sermons, on menu at new downtown Lawrence cafe owned by church

Most often a four-by-four in my life is used as part of a misguided home improvement project. Now, it can also be a part of breakfast. The Greenhouse Cafe has opened in downtown Lawrence serving square biscuits — roughly 4 inches by 4 inches, the staff touts — and that is just the beginning of the twists served by this new eatery. The biggest one is that the cafe is owned by a church. The Greenhouse Church ...

Another restaurant closes; how the misadventure of self-service dry cleaning is sparking a Ninth Street project

One of Lawrence’s more unique restaurants has closed its doors. Sully & Hank’s, which opened in the former Presto gas station location at Ninth and Louisiana streets, shut down earlier this week. The closing marks the end of what had seemed to be an experiment in slightly funky fare that began with the restaurant’s opening in mid-2017. If you remember, Brad Walters, the former owner and chef at The ...

New west Lawrence food company aims to make healthy eating more convenient

I’ve seen crazy sights at a fast-food drive thru. (I still don’t understand why that Chihuahua was taking my order at Taco Bell for a good part of the 1990s.) But I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone get a turkey taco at a drive-thru. That, however, is indeed possible at a new type of food service company open in west Lawrence. The Lean Kitchen Company has opened in the space formerly occupied by Little ...

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas buys News Center building in downtown Lawrence

As we reported last month, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas has been looking for a corporate presence in downtown Lawrence, and the company has now confirmed it has signed a deal to buy one of the larger buildings in downtown. But before you get ideas of hundreds of new employees for downtown, the health insurance giant doesn’t have those type of plans in the works right now. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas ...

New Lawrence fitness center will have you doing workouts in the sauna

My workout attire of a hoodie pulled tight around my head sometimes causes people to confuse me with Rocky. (In fairness, it may just be because after five minutes on the elliptical, I also only speak in monosyllables.) Regardless, if you too like the idea of breaking a big sweat while working out, there is a new concept in Lawrence: a fitness center that has you do your workout inside a sauna. The fitness ...

Report shows holiday spending couldn't maintain hot pace; a look at the Lawrence industries producing the most sales tax

Last week I ran into a city employee who was taking down Christmas lights from downtown street trees. He told me that meant warmer weather was on the way. As I remove snow from my socks, I now believe that fellow has a great future as a groundhog. But maybe the snow has reminded you of Christmas. I do have a new report on holiday spending in Lawrence. It didn’t end up being the blockbuster it once looked like ...