WRITER: Kathy Hanks

Violent winds down power lines, trees and branches around Lawrence

Story updated at 6 p.m. Friday A strong thunderstorm raced through Lawrence about 9:30 a.m. Friday, downing power lines, trees and branches. As of 6 p.m., Westar Energy's website was reporting power outages at 1,211 households around the city. As many as 7,700 customers were without power on Friday morning. “Most of the damage we are hearing about are power lines, limbs and trees down,” said Jillian ...

Go, See, Do: St. John's Mexican Fiesta, Akin Prairie Wildflower Walk and more

Mariachi and Tejano bands, folk dancers and plenty of authentic Mexican food will return to the parking lot of St. John Catholic School for the 39th annual St. John's Mexican Fiesta this weekend. “It’s a party in our backyard, and we invite all the neighbors over,” said Frank Lemus Jr., the chairman of the fiesta committee. There's no charge to get into the fiesta, scheduled from 6 to 11:30 p.m. Friday ...

Ham radio operators to practice their emergency communication skills at annual field day

Local amateur radio operators will be setting up temporary transmitting stations just outside of Lawrence over the weekend for an annual event geared toward using radios in times of disaster. For 24 hours, between 1 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday, the Douglas County Amateur Radio Club's operators, or "hams," will have their radios set up at Wells Overlook Park, located 3/4 of a mile east of U.S. Highway 59 on ...

Rain eases up in June, but 'it’s hard to say what will happen'

Rainfall totals for June are not adding up to be as wet as May was in Lawrence, according to the National Weather Service in Topeka. May was the fifth wettest month on record, with 10.13 inches of rain recorded at the University of Kansas weather observing station. The monthly average for the month is 5.19 inches, said meteorologist Sarah Teefey. “It was 4.94 inches above the average, which is pretty ...

For Lawrence woman, 19th-century house started as money pit but evolved into 'my world'

The owner of the Queen Anne cottage at 1042 Rhode Island St. admits that sometimes the house has been tough to love. Anne Underwood’s 1893 house gets a lot of compliments, but it in turn requires a lot of nurturing from her and her partner, Rodney Troth. On a recent morning, the doors of the dining room and kitchen were opened to the original back porch. “We eat every meal out here,” said Underwood, ...

Go, See, Do: 'Mary Poppins Jr.,' Summer Brew Fest and more

The Lawrence Arts Center’s Summer Youth Theatre program is bringing a “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” show to the stage this weekend — “Mary Poppins Jr.” In this abridged version of the popular musical about the “practically perfect” nanny, more than 60 students in sixth through eighth grades will be singing and dancing to such familiar tunes as “Chim-Chim-Cher-ee” and “Let’s go ...

Lawrence business wins Governor's Exporter of the Year award

A Lawrence company that designs, manufactures and sells laboratory research equipment for use in the field of neuroscience was recently awarded the Governor’s Exporter of the Year award. Pinnacle Technology Inc., 2721 Oregon St., received the award from Team Kansas and the Kansas Department of Commerce earlier this month in Manhattan, during an annual celebration of Kansas businesses. Team Kansas, according ...

Outdoor sculpture exhibit bringing selection of new works to downtown Lawrence

A large angelfish sculpture caught the attention of several people walking along Massachusetts Street on Tuesday morning. "Angelica #2," a 500-pound steel fish with a limestone face, was created by Joe Malesky, of Strafford, Mo., and was recently placed on display in the 800 block of Massachusetts Street's west side. It’s one of nine new sculptures that are being installed around town in the coming days as ...

Family, friends and even strangers help clean up after tornado demolishes dairy, kills prize-winning cows

LINWOOD — Lawrence firefighter Rob Leach spoke into a portable radio microphone, giving instructions to a group of volunteers to move from the pasture to a cornfield as they picked up debris Saturday morning at Lin-Crest Farm. “My fire department training has come in handy,” he said. Rob's family dairy farm, 3 miles north of Linwood, was demolished on May 28 by the EF-4 tornado that cut a 32-mile path ...

Go, See, Do: Historic Lecompton Territorial Days, StoryWalk at South Park and more

This weekend's Historic Lecompton Territorial Days will offer plenty of old-fashioned fun — including frog and turtle races — but also a chance to learn more about Kansas' early history. The annual festival kicks off at 7 a.m. Saturday with a pancake breakfast at the community building south of Lecompton City Hall, 327 Elmore St. The critter races start at 8 a.m., and a parade is scheduled for 11 ...

Kansas National Guard hauls in water for residents near Perry Lake because of flooding

Two Kansas National Guard tanker trucks have been hauling water to Lakeside Village, where the two water well pumps are currently submerged because of flooding at Perry Lake. Jerry White, president of the Lakeside Village Improvement District in Jefferson County, said the residents living in the 150 homes that make up the community have been without running water for more than two weeks. Prior to receiving help ...

'It’s only been in the last 15 years that he has talked about it'; 99-year-old veteran recalls D-Day experiences

Clayton Vogler wasn’t among the more than 150,000 U.S., British and Canadian soldiers who stormed the Nazi-occupied beaches of Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944; he landed 16 days later as a replacement. On D-Day, Vogler, who turns 100 in September, was in England going through last-minute training in a gas chamber. The 24-year-old draftee had been inducted into the U.S. Army a year earlier, in September of ...

Filmmaker says enterprising childhood on Massachusetts Street paved the way for adventurous life

Back in 1964 Ben Boorem and his little sister, Liz, would swing by the Lawrence Journal-World after school and pick up an armload of newspapers and walk along Massachusetts Street selling them. “We would take off with 25 papers and hustle. I remember they cost 7 cents back then, we would make 3 cents and give 4 cents to the Journal-World. On a good day when we were hitting it, we had to run back and get ...

As local farmers face tough conditions, one discusses the particular struggles of this 'crazy spring'

Scouting a field of corn, Lowell Neitzel knelt down and gently turned over a tattered leaf of a plant as dark clouds were building in the northwest Thursday afternoon. In the field south of the Lawrence Municipal Airport was some of the first corn he had planted a month and a half ago, and it barely skimmed the tall farmer’s ankles. “If we had a normal season, the corn would be knee tall,” Neitzel said. ...

Clinton Lake breaks record for highest water level; Kansas River expected to flood

After Tuesday night’s heavy rain, Clinton Lake has hit a record elevation of 893.28 feet above sea level. While it has broken the old record of 892.48 feet, set in 1995, R.J. Harms, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager at Perry and Clinton Lake, said there's a long way to go before water is released into the Wakarusa River. “It crossed that mark late Tuesday night after the big rain and the ...

Go, See, Do: 'Humanities in the Wild,' nighttime hike at the wetlands and more

It's easy to find shops and restaurants on Massachusetts Street, but people can also see the natural world in downtown Lawrence if they know what to look for, says Ken Lassman, author of “Wild Douglas County.” At 6 p.m. Friday at Sunflower Outdoor & Bike, 804 Massachusetts St., Lassman will offer tips on how to spot some wild critters, such as nighthawks and chimney swifts, while walking downtown, he ...

Lawrence native helped write latest report on earth's dangerous decline

A Lawrence native was among the scientists in Paris earlier this month presenting a landmark report that the environment is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history. Pamela McElwee, a 1988 Lawrence High School graduate and the first female Rhodes Scholar from the University of Kansas, was among the authors of the assessment report for the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on ...

Donating body to science and other options for remains should be planned out well

Judy Weide has made her wishes known to her family: She wants to donate her body to science. She learned about the demand for cadavers from her niece, who was going through medical school and had to share a cadaver for dissection with 20 students. Weide realized that was one way she could someday help. “If I am finished with my body, then maybe someone else can benefit,” Weide said. Her son Todd Miller, a ...

Go, See, Do: Lawrence Busker Festival, Art Tougeau parade and more

Acrobats, sword swallowers, magicians and comedians will fill downtown Lawrence on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the 12th annual Lawrence Busker Festival — and, for the first time in the event's history, all the performers will be female. Busker Martika Daniels, whose act includes hula hooping with barbed wire, fire breathing and walking on glass, anticipates that this weekend's festival will have a more ...

More heavy rain possible for already-saturated Lawrence in coming days

Wednesday's bright blue sky was a welcome sight, especially for folks dealing with wet basements and leaky roofs, but it's not likely to repeat itself in coming days. "The stuff will be moving back,” said Shawn Byrne, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Topeka. There was a 60% chance of rain for Wednesday night. Byrne said heavy rain was possible in coming days, with the forecast ...