Archive for Monday, August 9, 2004

Downtown businesses profit from thirsty crowd

August 9, 2004


Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards left town Sunday afternoon after his appearance in Lawrence, but many of his supporters stayed downtown to quench thirst and ease hunger pangs, according to a few businesses.

"A lot of people came in with signs and wearing buttons," said Lauren Arnold, counter employee at Rudy's Pizzeria, 704 Mass. "I talked to quite a few of them who had been to the rally."

Shortly after the rally ended, there also was a spike in business at Free State Brewing Co., 636 Mass., said manager Ray Dalton. Many customers there were wearing Kerry-Edwards regalia, as well.

"We definitely had an increase in people," Dalton said. "They were all in a pretty jovial, pretty riled-up mood."

Other businesses farther south along Massachusetts Street, however, reported only an average customer count.

Law enforcement and other emergency personnel not assigned to duty at the Edwards rally had a quiet afternoon. Douglas County dispatchers said they didn't receive any major incident calls.

The Kansas Highway Patrol and the Kansas Turnpike Authority said they didn't have any indication that there was a major increase in traffic on highways leading into Lawrence. No traffic tie-ups or other problems were reported.

Emergency personnel responded to an injury accident on the turnpike just west of the west Lawrence exit, but it occurred at 10:19 a.m., well before the 1 p.m. rally. A man who had gotten out of his car on the eastbound shoulder of the turnpike was struck by another vehicle. He was taken by ambulance to University of Kansas Hospital, turnpike dispatchers said.

The heavy rain that fell during the morning caused several noninjury accidents on the turnpike, dispatchers said.

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