WRITER: Dylan Lysen

KU to shed more than 150 positions, lay off about 30 people, interim provost says

The University of Kansas will be shedding more than 150 positions to deal with a $20 million budget hole, and about 30 people will be laid off as part of that process, a university leader said Wednesday at a town hall meeting. Interim Provost Carl Lejuez said the university would eliminate about 55 faculty positions and 100 staff positions in the next two school years. On the faculty side, the reductions will ...

Post office to halt mail delivery Wednesday for National Day of Mourning

Most residential mail will not be delivered in Lawrence on Wednesday. The U.S. Postal Service announced its nationwide service will be suspended that day for the National Day of Mourning. President Donald Trump designated the day to honor former President George H.W. Bush, who died on Friday at the age of 94. The Postal Service said regular mail would be halted for the day but “limited package delivery” ...

Lawrence chamber of commerce selects new leader

Story updated at 6:55 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, 2018: A familiar face will soon take over the leadership of the Lawrence chamber of commerce. Bonnie Lowe, who currently serves as the organization’s chief operations officer, will serve as the organization’s next president and CEO, the chamber announced in a news release Monday morning. Lowe will replace current president and CEO Larry McElwain. McElwain ...

Homes: Well-known holiday house holds 45 years of Christmas memories

People keep asking when Donna Osness and her husband are going to sell the house. But for her five children, nine grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren, the Osness home on University Drive is the heart of the holiday season. “Of our grandchildren, I don’t think any of them have spent Christmas Eve anywhere but this house,” Donna said. “They are all very protective of it. This is home.” About this ...

Natural gas prices will likely lead to higher heating bills this winter

Heating a home in the Lawrence area this winter may be more costly than originally expected. Black Hills Energy, which is one of two providers of natural gas to local consumers, originally expected the costs to remain flat this winter, according to an October news release. But in November, colder-than-expected temperatures have led to increased gas consumption across the country, depleting stored inventory of ...

Go, See, Do | A menorah on a drone, KU Holiday Vespers, Watkins Museum Tails and Traditions and more

There’s been a balloon menorah, an ice menorah and a glow-in-the-dark menorah. But this year, the menorah is going to fly. You read that right. It’s going to be flying up in the sky. Chabad of KU, a campus Jewish community center, will celebrate the beginning of Hanukkah on Sunday with the lighting of this flying menorah. The public is invited to the free event to help kick off the eight-day holiday, which ...

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 ...