Archive for Thursday, January 24, 2002

Local briefs

January 24, 2002


Sickly trees being removed along Massachusetts Street

The city has started to replace more than two dozen downtown trees.

City workers started last week to cut down and remove 28 sickly trees along Massachusetts Street that are being replaced with the assistance of a state urban forestry grant.

Downtown trees have a useful life of about two decades, city officials have said, before their concrete planters choke off their ability to grow.

The new trees will be planted during the next two months, officials said.

Contest: Your own Valentine stories could win sweet prizes

The Journal-World is sponsoring a Valentine write-in contest, seeking the best real-life stories in two categories: "Funniest Valentine" and "Most Unique Presentation of Valentine Day's Gift."

Each entry should be no more than 500 words, and include your name, address, phone number and category. Send your entries to Jan Biles, arts-features editor, Lawrence Journal-World, 645 N.H., Lawrence 66044, or e-mail If you have a photograph of you and your valentine, send it along, too.

Each winning couple will receive two movie tickets from Southwind 12 Theatres and a gift certificate for the Bleu Jacket restaurant. The winners also will be featured in the Feb. 10 issue of the Journal-World.

Deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. Feb. 1.

Holiday observances: Federal judge speaks at KU as part of King celebration

Facing down a committee of U.S. senators is tricky, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson said Wednesday, particularly when your job is on the line.

Robinson, the first black woman appointed federal district judge in Kansas, graduated from Kansas University Law School in 1981. She spoke Wednesday at Ecumenical Christian Ministries, 1204 Oread Ave.

She described the "difficult process" of being interviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee in November.

"You're almost reluctant to answer the questions directly," Robinson said. "You don't want to decide a case before it comes up. When an actual case is presented to you, you want to have an open mind."

Robinson spoke as part of a week of events at KU celebrating the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Transportation: City bus ridership numbers hit all-time monthly high

Ridership on the city's bus system is growing quickly, officials said Wednesday.

Karin Rexroad, the city transit administrator, said that an average of 674 riders a day are using the T up from about 400 riders a day a year ago. December was the first month average daily use surpassed 600.

Rexroad said the city is increasing publicity of the system, particularly at Kansas University.

Environment: Proposal to ban loosestrife sent to state ag secretary

A proposal to ban purple loosestrife soon will be sent to the Kansas Secretary of Agriculture.

After meeting with nursery and landscape business owners Wednesday in Lawrence, Tom Sim, manager of the state's plant protection and weed control program, said the proposed quarantine will be forwarded to Secretary Jamie Clover Adams. If approved, the ban would take effect Jan. 1, 2003, and prevent nurseries from growing or selling the plant in Kansas, Sim said.

State officials want to ban the invasive plant because of damage it does to wetlands and waterways. The ban would cover two loosestrife species, the wild strain, Lythrum salicaria, the ornamental Lythrum virgatum, and their hybrids.

Sim said the plant has infested 250 acres in 13 counties, including Douglas, Johnson and Shawnee counties.

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