WRITER: Elvyn Jones

Douglas County to hold recognition ceremony for retiring administrator

At its short meeting Wednesday, the Douglas County Commission announced plans for a recognition ceremony for retiring County Administrator Craig Weinaug. Weinaug announced in August he would be retiring Dec. 14 from the position he has held for 26 years. Commission Chair Nancy Thellman said the county would have a retirement celebration for Weinaug from 2 to 5 p.m. Dec. 14, at the Flory Meeting Hall at the ...

Public shares concerns about tolls, safety at meeting on K-10 west-leg improvements

Notes left on a comment board Wednesday at a public informational meeting on proposed upgrades for Kansas Highway 10 left no doubt about what was on attendees' minds: "No tolls." At the meeting at Southwest Middle School, which the Kansas Department of Transportation hosted to get public feedback on a proposal to expand K-10 to four lanes from the U.S. Highway 59/Iowa Street interchange to North 1800 Road, that ...

Douglas County Commission to thank veterans, consider audit on federal money

The Douglas County Commission will meet Wednesday with a limited agenda that includes a proclamation thanking veterans for their service. Commissioners will also consider approving an audit of the combined $1.92 million in federal funding the county and the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department spent in 2017 on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, and on the ...

KDOT seeks public input on expansion of K-10's west leg

Lawrence and Douglas County residents will have an opportunity Wednesday to comment on the proposed expansion of Kansas Highway 10's west leg. Laurie Arellano, Kansas Department of Transportation spokeswoman, said KDOT would have the first of its planned informational meetings about an environmental impact study on expanding K-10 to four lanes from the U.S. Highway 59/Iowa Street interchange to North 1800 ...

Lawrence representatives say expansion of K-10's west leg will pay for itself, dismiss toll as counterproductive

Local advocates who want the state to prioritize expanding Kansas Highway 10's west leg to four lanes are using the state’s own figures to argue that the project will pay for itself, but they say adding a toll to use the road would be counterproductive. A number of representatives of the City of Lawrence, Douglas County and the local chamber of commerce testified Nov. 8 before the Joint Legislative ...

Lawrence school board wants to eliminate class-size goals, work on new plan to decrease overcrowding

The Lawrence school board agreed Monday to review eliminating elementary class-size goals that are written into current board policy after two board members said the action would be a step toward decreasing overcrowded classrooms. That decision to consider the revision to board class-size policy came after the board agreed to take the proposal off the board’s consent agenda of items thought to be routine ...

Vet recalls horrors, heroism after Israeli attack of USS Liberty during Six-Day War

In early June 1967, Larry Slavens had a sideline view of the Six-Day War from the bridge of the USS Liberty about 12 miles off the coast of the Sinai Peninsula. “With Navy field glasses, you can see a long way,” he recalled Thursday from his rural Jefferson County home. “You could see men running behind tanks and planes dropping bombs. We were only going about 5 knots. It was very tranquil.” Slavens ...

Parade spreads patriotic warmth on chilly Veterans Day morning

With cane in hand, Al Stuber was ready to walk the five blocks of the Lawrence Veterans Day Parade on Sunday, although he had thought he might have a different role in the event. “I was going to do the flyover, but I got beat out by a tanker,” he said. A Kansas Air National Guard refueling tanker from Forbes Air Base in Topeka got the parade underway at about 11 a.m. Sunday with a low pass over downtown ...

Lawrence school board to consider striking class-size goals from policy

The Lawrence school board will consider Monday a committee's suggestion to remove existing elementary class-size goals from board policy. The action before the board is a recommendation to strike from policy the district's class-size goals, which are to keep kindergarten through third-grade class sizes at 13 to 17 students and fourth- and fifth-grade classes at 18 to 26 students. The passage that the Board ...

HUD gives initial OK for apartment complex at planned behavioral health campus in Lawrence

Shannon Oury, executive director of the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority, had reason to celebrate even before county voters approved Proposition 1 on Tuesday. Officials with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had recently informed her that they had signed off on the housing authority’s conceptual plan to build an eight- to 10-unit complex on the future behavioral health campus in ...

Weekly Douglas County Commission meeting canceled

The Douglas County Commission meeting scheduled for Wednesday has been canceled. It is the second straight week the meeting has been canceled for the lack of a large agenda item. The County Commission is next scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St. Meeting agendas are posted online at douglascountyks.org.

Voters overwhelmingly approve sales tax to fund behavioral health campus, services

Douglas County voters overwhelmingly approved a quarter-cent sales tax Tuesday that will fund a behavioral health campus and a slate of enhanced mental health and drug treatment services. The question that appeared on the ballot as Proposition 1 passed with more than 70 percent of the vote. The Douglas County Commission agreed in July to put the question on the general election ballot. That decision came ...

Democratic legislators, County Commission candidate win uncontested races; local judges retained

Three incumbent Lawrence Democrats were officially re-elected to the Kansas House Tuesday in unopposed races. Winning two-year terms were Barbara Ballard, of the 44th District, which includes Lawrence precincts west of Iowa Street to Wakarusa Drive; Eileen Horn, who represents the 10th Kansas House District, which includes southeast Lawrence and southeast Douglas County, including Baldwin City; and Dennis ...

Amyx begins new chapter with 45th District victory

Democrat Mike Amyx, a former Lawrence mayor and city commissioner, began a new chapter in his political career Tuesday with his election to the Kansas House of Representatives. Amyx led throughout the night in the contest against Republican Cynthia Smith, winning with just less than 70 percent of the vote. With all of the district’s precincts reporting and most of the race’s advance ballots counted, Amyx ...

Leavenworth County voters carry Karleskint to victory in 42nd House District

Leavenworth County voters carried incumbent Republican Jim Karleskint to victory in Tuesday's contest for the 42nd District Kansas House seat. The 42nd District includes Eudora in Douglas County, as well as the western parts of Leavenworth County, including Tonganoxie. In Douglas County, Karleskint, of Tonganoxie, was a few votes behind Democratic challenger Thea Perry, of rural Tonganoxie — Perry got 1,215 ...

59 percent voter turnout in Douglas County sets midterm record, county clerk says

The fall general election was a record-breaking midterm that approached the turnout of presidential election years, Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said Tuesday. A total of 47,155 of the county’s 79,895 registered voters cast ballots in the general election, for a turnout of 59 percent, Shew said. The number of voters and turnout shattered the previous midterm turnout record of 39,000 voters in the 2014 ...

Lawrence schools benefiting from pilot program aimed at producing special education teachers

Three years ago, Kristen May took a job as a special education paraprofessional in the Lawrence school district because the hours worked well with her daughter’s schedule. This August, May took a big career step when she started the school year as a special education teacher at Kennedy Elementary School, although she has not yet obtained a special education teaching license. A two-year pilot program that the ...

Douglas County clerk predicts record midterm turnout

Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew is predicting a record-breaking midterm turnout after all the votes are cast Tuesday, but he admits he doesn’t know what the large number of votes cast in advance will mean for traditional election day voting. County residents crowded the first- and second-floor rotunda areas of the Douglas County Courthouse all morning Monday to cast in-person advance general election ballots ...

Olympian Billy Mills denounces racism, shares message of empowerment at dedication of his namesake school

On Friday, Olympic gold medalist and Oglala Lakota (Sioux) tribe member Billy Mills visited students at the middle school that now bears his name, and a question from one of the kids was so impactful, he said, that he cried tears of optimism in his hotel room that night. That question, Mills said Saturday at a dedication ceremony for his namesake school, was about the difference between racism in the past and ...

Start high school classes at 9 a.m.? Lawrence district is considering it

The Lawrence school district is set to conduct telephone and online surveys to find out what students, parents and staff think about starting high school classes later in the morning. Lawrence Deputy Superintendent Anna Stubblefield said the surveys were being finalized and would be sent no later than Nov. 12 to all district parents of students from sixth through 12th grade, students in those grades and staff ...