City financial picture less dire than thought
The city of Lawrence's third-quarter financial reports have officials optimistic.
With receipts and expenditures for the quarter now in hand, officials are revising their projections and expect the city will run a $3 million deficit for 2003 instead of the earlier forecast of $3.5 million.
And Finance Director Ed Mullins said the city could have a balanced budget next year, thanks mainly to a tax increase and cuts in spending.
"Probably all the way across the board we're doing a little bit better," Mullins said.
At least in the short term. The picture for 2005 looks grimmer. The city is expected to lose close to $2 million if taxes aren't raised again or city spending cut, Mullins said.
Suspect charged with raping children
A 50-year-old Maryland man has been charged with raping two children in Douglas County.
Prosecutors allege that between 1999 and 2003, the man had sex with two children under age 14. He faces four counts of rape and is being held in the Douglas County Jail with bond set at $200,000.
The man told a judge Tuesday during a video-conference hearing from the jail that he understood the charges and had money to hire an attorney. His next court date was scheduled for Nov.17.
Court records do not indicate whether the victims in the case are acquaintances.
Veterans to celebrate Marine Corps' birthday
Veterans will celebrate the Marine Corps' 228th birthday Friday.
Lawrence's 13th annual Marine Corps Birthday/Veterans Day Celebration will be from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Friday at the Dole Institute of Politics on Kansas University's west campus.
The featured speaker will be Col. E.G. Payne Jr., commander of the Marine Corps Reserve Support Command in Kansas City, Mo. Mayor David Dunfield and Erv Hodges, coordinator of the Douglas County Memorial Project, also will speak.
The event will include birthday cake and other food. Several items, including an autographed, framed print by artist Charles Waterhouse and a gold watch will be given away.
City officials cancel compost giveaway
There won't be a compost giveaway this year.
City officials canceled the event Wednesday after "unacceptable levels" of Clopyralid, a herbicide ingredient, were found in the compost.
Clopyralid can be harmful to tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, peas, beans and sunflowers. It is not considered harmful to grass.
Mollie Mangerich, operations supervisor at the city's Solid Waste Division, said Clopyralid was a common ingredient in more than 25 lawn herbicides sold in Kansas.
The only way to keep Clopyralid out of the compost is to prevent its initial application, Mangerich said.
"Our community needs to learn how to reduce the transfer of this particular herbicide into our compost since the chemical's use is not restricted in Kansas at this time," Mangerich said.
City of Lawrence
Park restrooms, shelters closed for season
Lawrence city park restrooms and shelters are closed for the winter.
The closings are necessary during winter months to avoid water freezing in pipes and for general maintenance, city officials said. Restrooms and shelters will reopen April 11.
There are several indoor facilities available for year-round rental to accommodate receptions, showers and party needs, officials said.
Reservations for outdoor shelters and indoor facilities can be made at any of the community recreation centers. For more information, call 832-7920.