WRITER: Dylan Lysen

Ahead of Lawrence concerts, singer Ashley Davis discusses Kansas inspiration for newest album

Ashley Davis did not initially realize the inspiration for the title track of her new album when she wrote it, she said. For her newest album, "Burning Down," she chose to focus on the theme of destruction and regeneration, and it came to her only later that that seed was planted during her childhood on the plains of her native Kansas. “I realized I got this concept from my childhood watching the prairies ...

Know someone who needs a winter coat? More than 2,000 to be given away this week

As a blizzard blew through the Lawrence area earlier this week, a local charity and a dry-cleaning service were getting thousands of winter coats ready to give away. The Salvation Army of Douglas County and Scotch Cleaners on Thursday and Friday will hold the 32nd annual Scotch Share the Warmth coat giveaway, which provides a winter coat to any person in need. The event will be from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 ...

Sunday blizzard causes 27 car wrecks in Douglas County

Sunday's blizzard and icy roads played a part in more than two dozen car wrecks in Douglas County, said Officer Shawn Gross, a spokesman for the Lawrence Police Department. Law enforcement agencies received calls for 27 car wrecks throughout the county on Sunday. Two of the wrecks caused injuries, but they were not life-threatening, Gross said. As of 4 p.m., three wrecks had occurred on Monday, none of which ...

With double cast, 2 girls bond over portraying title role in 'Annie'

Adelle Spiess and Vivi Riffel knew each other before this month, but now the two 11-year-olds are much closer friends, they said recently. After all, it's easy to get to know someone when you're both playing the same iconic musical theater role. Spiess and Riffel both play the title role in Theatre Lawrence's production of "Annie." “Being and sharing the same role has made us friends,” Spiess said. ...

Go, See, Do | 'Jane Lynch: A Swingin' Little Christmas,' Bizarre Bazaar, saving Santa and People's Art Speakers Series

Personally, I find holiday music to be a bit grating when it comes on each year. This might be because my dad used to play it all throughout the house nonstop from Thanksgiving until Christmas Day when I was growing up. But who knows? A good way to switch it up and keep those tunes fresh and interesting is to make them funny. That’s exactly what Jane Lynch, who may be best known for her role as Sue ...

Downtown Lawrence businesses deal with new Black Friday competitor: KU football

Some Lawrence stores encountered an unusual stretch of slow business on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Black Friday just happened to coincide with a University of Kansas football game taking place just a few blocks away. Mackenzie Lomshek, manager for Mass Street Mercantile, said the store was packed when it opened at 8 a.m. The business sold several Jayhawk sweatshirts and other items, she ...

Holiday Happenings: Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade

There’s no better way to kick off the holiday season than hearing the clip-clopping of horses in downtown Lawrence, says Elaine VanDeventer, director of Lawrence’s Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade. The 26th annual parade will include horses of all colors and sizes trotting down Massachusetts Street to celebrate the holiday season in Lawrence. The horses will take to the street at 11 a.m. Dec. 1. Although ...

Holiday Happenings: Farmers market’s holiday edition coming up

Although its standard sales have closed for the year, the Lawrence Farmers’ Market will return for a special holiday edition in early December. The 29th annual Holiday Market will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 8 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 200 McDonald Drive. About 60 vendors who participated in the summer market are expected to sell various items, including the produce seen at the summer and ...

Ready for some heavy-duty holiday shopping? Here are a few things to keep in mind

The holiday season may mean a fun time with family and friends, but often it also means spending a lot of money for gifts, holiday food and other items. With so much money coming out of our wallets, it's a good time to brush up on how to avoid lesser known spending surprises and to find some cost-saving deals before Black Friday. Below is some information that me be useful to local shoppers: In-store credit ...

Skip the stores and go outdoors: State parks waiving entry fees for Black Friday

Black Friday can be one of the most hectic days of the year, but the Kansas state parks want to change that. Instead of waiting in line at a store, the parks are offering an opportunity for Kansas residents to visit a state park and experience the outdoors. Entry fees will be waived Friday at all 27 state parks, including Clinton State Park, as part of an "Opt Outside" event, said Michael Pearce, outdoor ...

Explore Lawrence's Final Fridays advertising bringing in out-of-town visitors

Explore Lawrence’s targeted advertising toward people attending arts events in major Midwest cities has been able to attract visitors to the city's Final Fridays events, according to the organization’s marketing analysis. Since 2017, online advertising for Final Fridays has been seen by close to 3 million out-of-town web users, with at least 2,500 of those users making a trip to Lawrence for the monthly ...

Go, See, Do | 'Driving While Black,' 'Polar Express' train rides, Holiday Bazaar and Throwback Thanksgiving

When composer Susan Kander approached Roberta Gumbel, a University of Kansas lecturer for voice and opera, to collaborate on a short musical production, she said she wanted to work on a serious and timely topic — one that hit close to home for Gumbel. “She called me and said, ‘I know what I want to write about: your concerns for your son, an African-American boy behind the wheel in this time,’” Gumbel ...

4 Lawrence playgrounds may be removed because of poor condition, low usage

Four playgrounds in Lawrence public parks could be removed in 2019 because of poor condition and low usage. Mark Hecker, assistant director of the City of Lawrence's Parks and Recreation Department, said the department conducted a citywide audit of the playgrounds and found four of 38 total playgrounds to be in poor condition and seldom used by the public. Hecker presented the audit report to the city’s ...

Library selects 3 food-themed books for 2019 Read Across Lawrence

After selecting one book for all ages in 2018, the Lawrence Public Library went back to selecting three books for the 2019 Read Across Lawrence program. “It’s a return to the norm,” said Kristin Soper, adult programming coordinator for the library. This year, the library selected “A Tangle of Knots” by Lisa Graff for kids, “The Doughnut Fix” by Jessie Janowitz for teens and “Sourdough” by ...

Family to move into 100th Lawrence Habitat for Humanity home early next year

When Autumn Hale recently went through a divorce, she and her five children “pretty much lost everything,” she said. But she and her kids were given an opportunity to get back on their feet, and back in a permanent home, after they were selected as the 100th Habitat for Humanity family to receive a newly built home. “It was a dream come true when we found out,” she said. After the divorce, Hale said ...

Dozens of wrecks reported as light snow causes slick roads in Lawrence area

A light snow Monday led to slick roads and dozens of car wrecks in Douglas County. A total of 40 car wrecks had been reported in the county as of 4 p.m., and four resulted in nonsevere injuries, said Officer Shawn Gross, a Lawrence Police Department spokesman. Audra Hennecke, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka, said the Lawrence area was expected to receive about half an inch of snow ...

Teenager who took loaded handgun to Free State High School no longer enrolled

A Lawrence teenager who brought a loaded handgun to Free State High School in the spring is no longer a student in Lawrence Public Schools, the district confirmed Monday. But the district will not say if he was expelled or dropped out after the incident. “Due to student privacy rights, the district is unable to share or speculate as to why a student may no longer be enrolled in our schools,” said Julie ...

Go, See, Do | East Hill Singers, KU Theatre performance, Veterans Day Parade and Nerd Nite

How often have you seen a choir of prison inmates perform for the general public? That’s what Leigh Lynch, executive director of Arts in Prison, asked me when I called to discuss the East Hill Singers prison choir performance in Lawrence this weekend. “It’s a very unique opportunity because we have the privilege to take the inmates out into the community,” she said. The group, made up of 12 minimum ...

Teenager who took loaded handgun to Free State High School sentenced to 6 months of probation

A Lawrence teenager was sentenced to six months of probation Friday morning after he was convicted in September for bringing a loaded handgun to Free State High School in his backpack last spring. The 18-year-old was 17 when the incident occurred, and he was charged as a juvenile in Douglas County District Court. Juvenile Court Judge Bethany Roberts said she chose six months, instead of the maximum 12 months, ...

October health code inspections: 6 found out of compliance in Douglas County

Kansas inspection officials found health code violations at some downtown Lawrence food and drink establishments and two Greek Life institutions in Baldwin City during October. Additionally, two restaurants in Lawrence that were out of compliance for September returned to compliance in October inspections. Each month, I take a look at inspection results and list every place either listed out of compliance or ...