Local briefs

Researcher aims to track brown recluse population

A Kansas University graduate student wants to tour homes in Lawrence to help determine what makes a good habitat for brown recluse spiders.

Jamel Sandidge, a doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology, hopes to visit 10 to 20 homes in Lawrence this summer to figure out what it is about human homes that brown recluses find more appealing than living outdoors.

During a similar study last summer in the Lawrence area, Sandidge found that sample homes had an average of 53 brown recluse spiders. Some homes in Old West Lawrence had several hundred.

Sandidge’s initial visit would last between 30 and 45 minutes. He places sticky traps in locations throughout the house and draws a map of the sites. He’ll return once a week for a 10-minute visit to check up on the progress and change the traps.

For more information or to volunteer your house, visit www.recluseproject.ku.edu.

Extension: Master Gardeners share planting tips during tour

Douglas County Extension will show off gardens countywide Saturday and Sunday during its Master Gardeners Garden Tour.

Tickets may be purchased for $8 in advance or $10 on the tour day at the extension office in the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper St., or at area garden centers.

Tickets come with a map to guide participants.

Gardens will feature educational themes such as growing and maintaining roses, low maintenance landscaping, gardening in windowboxes and containers, shade gardening and gardening for backyard wildlife habitat.

For more information, call the Extension office at 843-7058.

Law enforcement: Lawrence officer faces domestic battery charge

A Lawrence police officer has been charged with domestic battery.

David Lynn Hummell, 39, is on administrative leave pending a misdemeanor charge that he battered his wife April 14.

The alleged incident happened while he was off-duty, said Sgt. Mike Pattrick, a police spokesman.

A federal law passed in the mid-1990s makes it illegal, under certain circumstances, for people convicted of domestic violence charges to carry a firearm.

If a Kansas police officer is convicted or enters a diversion program for a domestic violence charge, the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Commission will begin proceedings to revoke the officer’s certification.

Hummell has requested a jury trial, and his next court appearance will be June 24 in Douglas County District Court.