Archive for Friday, December 31, 2004

2004: The Year in Review

A look back at the headlines of 2004

December 31, 2004


The past year saw some Lawrence residents dispatched to the war zones of Iraq. There were bitter divisions in a presidential election and a controversial ban on cigarette smoking in the city's public spaces. A fiery grass-roots movement to unseat a Douglas County judge was noteworthy because it was so rare in state history.

The year 2004 also brought charges in what police have called the most violent slaying in Douglas County's modern history.

But, there also was sweet news. The Kansas University Jayhawks had a stellar season in Bill Self's first year as men's basketball coach. And the unexpected occurred when the KU football squad bested both Kansas State University and the University of Missouri this fall.

Such was 2004.


Crime and punishment grabbed headlines to start the year.

Douglas County District Judge Paula Martin touched off a firestorm of controversy with her sentence of a 60-day jail term and probation for a man convicted in the rape of a 13-year-old girl. Protests intensified after the girl's mother said her daughter had mutilated herself, in part because the judge ruled the girl had been an "active participant" in her own rape.

As that story line was in its early chapters, another was ending.

Raymond Boothe apologized at his sentencing for stabbing his developmentally disabled son with a pair of needle-nosed pliers and leaving the 11-year-old for dead on the Kansas Turnpike in August 2002. Boothe was sentenced to 16 years.

Former Kansas University student Jeffrey R. Cox, of Hudson, Ohio, was arrested in a string of bank robberies across Lawrence in 2002 and 2003 after police found a ditched duffel bag with dye-stained money and ammunition.

An audience of 12,000 people packed Allen Fieldhouse in May to hear
former President Bill Clinton give the inaugural Dole lecture for
Kansas University's Dole Institute of Politics.

An audience of 12,000 people packed Allen Fieldhouse in May to hear former President Bill Clinton give the inaugural Dole lecture for Kansas University's Dole Institute of Politics.

A protester was acquitted of pushing a police officer outside a Dole Institute of Politics dedication event. The acquittal was the latest in a string that led to speculation protesters at the event had been falsely arrested.

There was major news from the KU sports front. Women's basketball coach Marian Washington said she was taking an indefinite leave from the program she coached for 31 years. Details were few, with Washington saying only that the decision was for medical reasons.

Also, the Kansas Athletic Corp. board learned it would have little or no say in putting together a priority point system for divvying up men's basketball season tickets. Instead, athletic director Lew Perkins said, he would present his plan directly to the chancellor.

A short-lived idea was the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce's support for tax increases to better finance public schools. Finding itself out of step with counterpart organizations across the state, the chamber soon restated its position. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' budget proposal included nearly $16 million for higher education, part of a $304 million tax increase proposed for education statewide.

Lawrence film director Kevin Wilmott showed his movie and gained attention for "C.S.A.: Confederate States of America," at the Sundance Film Festival.

A Cub Scout Pinewood Derby was canceled after mercury, apparently being used to add weight to a contestant's car, spilled at Quail Run School during practice runs. A $5,000 cleanup bill was sent to the Scouts.

United Way of Douglas County reached its fund-raising goal for the first time in three years.


February was a month of big changes and high-profile retirements at Kansas University's Allen Fieldhouse.

Marian Washington, women's basketball coach for 31 years, announced her immediate retirement Feb. 27, midway through the 2003-04 season. She cited undisclosed health problems. At the time, the team was 9-16 overall, 1-12 in conference play.

Howard Hill, public address announcer at Allen Fieldhouse for 21 years, retired Feb. 7, noting that after open-heart surgery in 2003, the job wasn't "as easy as it used to be, it's not as fun as it used to be."

KU athletic department officials Feb. 7 unveiled a $12 million gift from the Ward family of Russell Stover Candies and several anonymous donors. The money will pay for improvements to the 50-year-old building's rest rooms, windows, locker rooms and electrical system. It also will bankroll construction of a new Hall of Athletics planned for the front of the Fieldhouse.

KU Athletic Corporation board Feb. 27 heartily endorsed new athletic director Lew Perkins' plan to switch to a point-based system for allocating next year's supply of men's basketball season tickets.

Two weeks earlier, the University Council backed a plan that protected 1,600 faculty, staff and retirees' access to full-season tickets while creating a lottery system for newcomers.

A Journal-World-led campaign to raise $150,000 for new uniforms for reached its goal Feb. 18, 11 days ahead of the March 1 deadline to order uniforms in time for the 2004 football season.

President Clinton greeted fans after speaking at Allen Fieldhouse.

President Clinton greeted fans after speaking at Allen Fieldhouse.

The William Allen White Foundation presented its national citation to former White House Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater during a Feb. 13 ceremony at the Kansas Union. A native of Abilene, Fitzwater handled press relations for presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Enrollment at KU reached 27,772, an all-time spring-semester high.

Homes sales in Douglas County in 2003 hit 2,065, also a record.

Amazing Grains bakery, 518 E. Eighth St., announced Feb. 20 that after a 30-year run, it was going out of business. The owners cited increased competition, rising costs and declining sales.

A week earlier, efforts to find new managers for the long-popular Paradise Cafe, 728 Mass., fell through, clearing the way for Vermont Street BBQ to lease the property.


Two words suffice to describe the month: March Madness.

All eyes were on the fortunes of the Kansas University men's basketball team, which generated the biggest headlines in Lawrence for most of the month.

The Jayhawks started March out right with a thrilling 84-82 victory over the Missouri Tigers in Columbia. KU freshman David Padgett sunk the game-winning shot in the final seconds, sending the Tigers to a loss in what was their final contest in Hearnes Center.

KU later got the good news that it would play its first-round game of the NCAA Tournament at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo., rekindling memories of the 1988 team's national championship victory there against Oklahoma. KU won the game against Illinois-Chicago 78-53.

That was followed by blowouts against Pacific (78-63) and the University of Alabama-Birmingham (100-74).

But KU was eventually eliminated from the NCCA Tournament in a classic Elite Eight contest, beaten 79-71 in overtime by the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. The Jayhawks thus fell short in their bid to advance to the Final Four for the third straight year.

Also in March, KU athletic director Lew Perkins introduced Bonnie Henrickson, the coach at Virginia Tech, at a press conference as the new Jayhawks women's basketball coach. Henrickson took the Hokies to five NCAA tournaments in seven years.

But the month's wasn't all about basketball.

Politics was on the minds of many people, too, as they looked toward the November elections. James Carville, now best known as a left-leaning co-host of CNN's "Crossfire," and David Broder, the Pulitzer Prize-winning, nationally syndicated columnist at The Washington Post, both drew large crowds to hear them speak (on separate occasions) at the Lied Center. Carville predicted President Bush would lose the election.

Raymond "Speedy" Perdue hates the smoking ban that the Lawrence
City Commission enacted in July. Perdue uses a wheelchair because
of a stroke and knows it will be a hassle to smoke outside during
the winter months.

Raymond "Speedy" Perdue hates the smoking ban that the Lawrence City Commission enacted in July. Perdue uses a wheelchair because of a stroke and knows it will be a hassle to smoke outside during the winter months.

KU administrators fired Andrea Norris, the director of the Spencer Museum of Art for nearly 16 years, declining to give a reason for their decision.

And a former KU student suspected of setting 15 fires, including three in Lawrence, was taken into custody. David Ryan Jay, 23, surrendered to law enforcement authorities in Fontana, Calif.


Unrest in Iraq hit uncomfortably close to home for a Lawrence family. After four American contractors were killed and their bodies mutilated in Fallujah, Iraq, Don Schaake worried that his son, Kurt, was among the victims. Kurt Schaake, a civilian contractor, e-mailed friends and family April 1 that he was safe.

An Ottawa family wasn't so lucky, however. Lance Cpl. Christopher B. Wasser, 21, was killed by shrapnel April 8 while serving with the Marine Corps in the Al-Anbar province of Iraq. Wasser graduated from Ottawa High School in 2001.

Lake View Manor, a Lawrence nursing home, continued to have troubles. Federal and state officials announced April 4 they had blocked the nursing home from receiving Medicaid and Medicare payments after the home failed to correct deficiencies cited during a December 2003 inspection.

The city recorded its first homicide April 4, when Robert T. Martin, 28, was found dead at the Jefferson Commons apartment complex in southwest Lawrence. Lafayette Damon Ester Cosby, 24, was arrested in Topeka; Cosby had stabbed Martin's friend David E. Walker Jr. to death in 1997, but a jury found in the earlier case that Cosby had acted in self defense.

Baker University student Shawn M. Trager, 19, Chillicothe, Mo., died April 13 after his car was struck by a tractor-trailer. Trucker Yan R. McHenry, then 46, Dallas, was arrested and charged with manslaughter and driving under the influence.

The Salvation Army filed a plan for review by the Lawrence City Commission to build a new community center and homeless shelter at a new site along Haskell Avenue, between Lynn and Homewood streets -- away from its current downtown location. East Lawrence residents promised to oppose the move.

One of the city's oldest and largest congregations voted April 18 to welcome gays and lesbians into the full "life and leadership of the church." Officials with Plymouth Congregational Church, which has 1,200 members, said that same-sex unions were a possible result of the new policy.

The Lawrence City Commission on April 20 passed a resolution condemning the Patriot Act, a federal anti-terrorism law passed in the wake of the 9-11 attacks. In doing so, Lawrence became the first Kansas community to go on record in opposition to the act. Commissioners, however, rejected suggestions to direct city employees not to cooperate with federal authorities operating under the Patriot Act.

Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke April 23 to the annual meeting of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. He told listeners to brace for a long-term struggle against terrorism. "I personally believe that this threat of global terrorism is a greater threat to our survival as a free and democratic nation than, in fact, we have ever faced," Myers said.


Lawrence lost a top leader when Emily Taylor died May 1. She was 89. A champion of women's causes, Taylor was Kansas University's dean of women from 1956 to 1975. She founded the nation's first university student commission on the status of women.

She left KU to become director of the Office of Women in Higher Education at the Washington, D.C.-based American Council on Education. She retired from that post in 1982.

Phil Ostronic, of Lawrence, pleads with Eugenia Harte, of Missouri,
not to dump the alcohol found at Free State Brewing Co. during a
temperance rally. Re-enactors paraded down Massachusetts Street and
begged citizens to give up their grog as part of the Chautauqua
events in June.

Phil Ostronic, of Lawrence, pleads with Eugenia Harte, of Missouri, not to dump the alcohol found at Free State Brewing Co. during a temperance rally. Re-enactors paraded down Massachusetts Street and begged citizens to give up their grog as part of the Chautauqua events in June.

Returning to Lawrence in 1986, Taylor continued to travel the country as a lecturer and consultant on issues related to women and education. She also became active in health care and end-of-life care issues, including serving on the Kansas Board of Healing Arts.

In local politics, the smoldering political controversy about the smoking ban in Lawrence was lit May 4 when the City Commission approved an ordinance that prohibited smoking in "all enclosed public places" within the city. The ordinance took effect July 1.

On May 6, the state commemorative quarter was selected with a design including a buffalo and sunflowers, which will circulate in August 2005.

In May, northeast Kansas attracted a lot of political attention.

On May 17, President Bush, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry and numerous other leaders converged in Topeka to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision that declared racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional.

Four days later in Lawrence, former President Bill Clinton delivered the first Dole lecture for the Dole Institute of Politics. He told an audience of 12,000 in KU's Allen Fieldhouse about the need for those on the opposite political spectrum to try to compromise and find common ground. Former Sen. Bob Dole invited Clinton. The two were opponents in the 1996 presidential race, which Clinton won.

There were several developments in May in the long-running battle over school finance.

On May 11, State District Court Judge Terry Bullock threatened to shut down Kansas schools if lawmakers didn't fix the school-finance system. Bullock had earlier ruled the finance system unconstitutional because it shortchanged minority students and students with disabilities.

The state got the Kansas Supreme Court to stop Bullock's order pending the high court's decision. The 2004 legislative session came to an official end May 27, which saw Gov. Kathleen Sebelius fail to get the Legislature to pass a tax increase for public schools.

Earlier in the session, a proposal to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot to ban same-sex marriage failed to get the necessary two-thirds vote in the House.


A six-day history festival and a four-day music festival made news in June.

Late in the month, costumed characters from the 1850s paraded through town in the sesquicentennial Chautauqua, an event designed to bring history to life. Events included a re-enactment of a women's temperance rally and march along Massachusetts Street that ended with distraught patrons watching beer poured out in front of Free State Brewing Co.

An estimated 7,500 concert-goers came to Clinton State Park to watch 80 bands perform during the first Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival. The event posed a major logistical challenge for organizers, parks officials and police, but biggest problem reported was an epidemic of chigger bites.

Kansas University leaders heard pointed questions from concerned basketball-ticket holders who worried that a new "priority points" system would cause them to lose their seats.

Thomas E. Murray faces murder charges in the slaying of his
ex-wife, Carmin Ross. Murray was charged in October, more than 10
months after the killing, and he faced a five-day preliminary
hearing in December.

Thomas E. Murray faces murder charges in the slaying of his ex-wife, Carmin Ross. Murray was charged in October, more than 10 months after the killing, and he faced a five-day preliminary hearing in December.

"Self Portrait as a Midget," a popular sculpture featuring five little blue men with quizzical looks on their faces, had to be moved from its spot on Massachusetts Street after being damaged by vandals and curious children.

In crime news, police took several days investigating the mysterious beating of a 20-year-old Lawrence man found lying in his bed, unresponsive and covered with blood. Police later arrested an acquaintance who was charged with beating him in the head with a crowbar. The FBI warned local car dealers to guard their sport utility vehicles as a local group of protesters held a weekend rally in support of an Oregon man in prison for setting fire to vehicles.

In business news, home-security company Protection One announced it was moving its corporate headquarters from Topeka to Lawrence. E&E; Display Group, 910 E. 29th St., a manufacturer of store displays and fixtures, closed its doors after 51 years in business.


On July 1 a new Lawrence city ordinance made it illegal to smoke inside public buildings, including restaurants and bars. Early reaction to the new law from the public was mixed.

There was smoke, however, on the night of July Fourth over the Kansas River as a large crowd gathered in Burcham Park to watch the annual fireworks display.

Just a day earlier, a crowd gathered outside the Lawrence Visitors Center to dedicate the new Douglas County Memorial of Honor, a tribute to the more than 400 Douglas County soldiers, sailors, Marines, police officers and firefighters who died in the line of duty, dating back to the Civil War.

Law enforcement officers were busy in July.

FBI agents came to Lawrence to check on local anarchists in an attempt to head off what they thought might be violence during the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Anarchists elsewhere across the country also were being visited by federal agents.

Late in July, Lawrence police began an investigation into the death of Mary Miller, 46. Her husband, Martin Miller, 45, told police he found his wife not breathing and unresponsive. But police later arrested Martin Miller, a carpenter and Christian school trustee, on a charge of first-degree murder.

In mid-July, a mysterious device found in the Japanese Friendship Garden in the 1000 block of Massachusetts Street put the downtown area on edge for a few hours. A man who tried to rob a nearby business had indicated he had a bomb before police found him. The man was arrested, and the Overland Park Police bomb squad destroyed the device. Police decided it was not a bomb.

The 1904 Seth Thomas clock in the tower of the old Douglas County Courthouse was shut down for several days of maintenance work. County workers had been maintaining the clock without a manual and had recently learned some of that maintenance work had been done incorrectly.

Also shut down for a day was the Lawrence Outdoor Aquatic Center, 727 Ky., because of a new cryptosporidium scare. The pool underwent hyperchlorination and then was reopened. No one reported illness.


August was a month that Lawrence residents kept a close eye on the courts.

The Democratic ticket for president sent John Edwards to Lawrence
after the campaign's train passed in the night without stopping.
Edwards' appearance drew thousands of people downtown for the rally
in August.

The Democratic ticket for president sent John Edwards to Lawrence after the campaign's train passed in the night without stopping. Edwards' appearance drew thousands of people downtown for the rally in August.

During the first week of the month, Lawrence resident Martin K. Miller was charged with the killing of his wife of 25 years, Mary Miller. Court documents indicated that the couple's school-aged children were home at the time of the death and are expected to be witnesses in the case.

During the last week of the month eyes turned to the Kansas Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of the state's school-finance system. Dubbed as potentially one of the largest cases before the court in years, justices heard arguments that the system shortchanges schools with large minority populations.

In between those events, a Kansas City, Kan., bankruptcy judge ordered the bankrupt Eldridge Hotel to be sold to the highest bidder at auction.

Democratic vice-presidential nominee John Edwards put Lawrence in the national spotlight with a campaign stop that drew thousands of people to a downtown rally outside of Abe & Jake's Landing. Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh shined more light on the city by lambasting the campaign's decision to stop in Lawrence and labeled Kansas as a state "where there is nothing to see there anyway."

About 50 members of the Lawrence-based 317th Quartermaster Supply Battalion shipped off to serve in Iraq.

More than four inches of rain over Aug. 23 and Aug. 24 produced flooding in several parts of Lawrence, including damaging some homes and apartments.

Bill Lacy, a former White House aide to Ronald Reagan and adviser to Sen. Bob Dole, was named the new director of the Dole Institute of Politics.

Fred Williams, the former director of the Kansas University Alumni Association, sued his former employer for more than $2.2 million. Williams alleged that he's owed the money as part of an employment contract he had with the association.


The city of Lawrence and Haskell Indian Nations University celebrated their birthdays during September.

The city marked its 150th birthday with events such as a Sesquicentennial Parade, a birthday party with free cake and the burial of a time capsule. Haskell Indian Nations University celebrated its 120th anniversary with events that included a storytelling session and a powwow.

Politics were heavy on the minds of many during September, with eight Lawrence anarchists protesting at the Republican National Convention in New York City getting arrested.

Candlelight vigils at the Douglas County Courthouse and Kansas University remembered the more than 1,000 U.S. military deaths in the Iraq campaign. The death toll reached 1,000 in early September.

And a movement officially organized to remove a Douglas County judge from office. Judge Paula Martin's opponents were unhappy about the way she handled a case involving the rape of a 13-year-old girl.

In Kansas University news, the school set a record for fall enrollment, with 29,590 students.

Kansas University's women's soccer team sang the Rock Chalk chant
after defeating Iowa State for a share of the Big 12 title.

Kansas University's women's soccer team sang the Rock Chalk chant after defeating Iowa State for a share of the Big 12 title.

The university also released more documents detailing athletic director Lew Perkins' contract. The university's action ended an eight-month court battle. The World Company, which publishes the Journal-World and operates 6News, had filed a lawsuit in January seeking full details of the contract.

In other news, Kansas farmers reaped one of the best corn harvests in recent memory. The Community Mercantile Co-op celebrated its 30th anniversary. And a state highway official predicted the controversial South Lawrence Trafficway won't be finished before 2012, if ever.


Lawrence residents kept their eye on politics during October.

Local residents tuned in to watch Sen. John Kerry and President George Bush debate each other for the country's top job. Meanwhile, Douglas County officials reported a record high in voter registration. About 65,181 voters were registered in the county. The total was up 23 percent -- or 12,343 voters -- compared with the last presidential election in 2000.

Turning to sports, the Kansas University football team beat the Kansas State University Wildcats, 31-28. The win ended the Jayhawks' 11-game losing streak to the 'Cats. The fans cheered for hours and, in their excitement, they managed to tear down the goalpost in the south end zone at Memorial Stadium.

KU students also waited for hours in line in hopes of getting tickets to see the men's basketball team play this season in Allen Fieldhouse.

In court news, Kansas State University English professor Thomas E. Murray, 48, was charged with murdering his ex-wife, Carmin D. Ross, 40, last year at her home northwest of Lawrence. Police found Ross' body Nov. 14, 2003.

Area residents went in search of flu shots when it was announced the country's supply was cut in half when British regulators shut down Chiron Corp. The situation caused the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recall shipments of flu vaccine. The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department was left with about 1,600 doses. Department officials canceled all flu vaccine clinics except for one at Free State High School where they administered all the flu shots.

In business, the Eldridge Hotel, 701 Mass., was sold at auction for $2.92 million to an investment group led by former Kansas University football All-American Bobby Douglass and Texas attorney and KU alumnus Mitchell Chaney.

A fire-breathing, green monster took center stage in Lawrence when city commissioners designated Oct. 24-30 as "Godzilla Week." The weeklong celebration accompanied an Oct. 28-30 conference at Kansas University, "In Godzilla's Footsteps: Japanese Pop Culture Icons on the Global Stage," sponsored by KU's Center for East Asian Studies.


Democrats swept the top of the Douglas County ballot Nov. 2, ousting Republican incumbents for state Senate and district attorney.

City commissioners approved a plan to limit rush-hour left turns off 23rd Street in a stopgap intended to ease traffic on the crowded thoroughfare. And the city created a new program aimed at matching able-bodied snow shovelers with elderly or disabled residents who aren't able to clear their sidewalks of snow.

Lawrence city commissioners also were nudged a step closer by the Planning Commission to a legal showdown with Kansas University over how KU would grow into neighborhoods.

The debate over the impact of the city's public smoking ban continued with a study of liquor excise tax revenues. Data showed revenues increased only 0.9 percent in August and September, down from an 8.3 percent increase for the same period a year ago.

The Meat Market, a downtown sports bar and grill, called it quits after 17 months. And Hereford House, the state's biggest restaurant, said it was in danger of closing because the public smoking ban threatened its out-of-town and bar business.

City officials said city-owned Eagle Bend Golf Course would end the year as much as $150,000 in the red, a bit better than a year earlier but disappointing because projections called for a break-even year.

Salvation Army officials kicked off a campaign to raise $4.5 million for a state-of-the-art homeless shelter and social service facility in east Lawrence.

State regulators ruled the owners of Lawrence's Cork & Barrel liquor stores should have their licenses revoked for participating in a hidden ownership scheme and other violations of Kansas law.

Yan R. McHenry, a 47-year-old truck driver from Texas, was sentenced to finish a year in jail in the traffic death of a Baker University student in April.

Kansas University senior Ruth Anne French became the 25th student in university history to win a Rhodes Scholarship.

KU decided people living in on-campus group housing next year must be vaccinated for meningitis. The policy was announced seven months after a KU student was nearly killed by the bacterial disease.

A Marine from Lawrence wounded in Fallujah brought himself and his family some international attention when he appeared in a televised news conference while recovering in Germany. Later in the month, Lance Cpl. Ryan Chapman returned home for the holidays.

Prairie Elf Christmas Trees near Lone Star supplied the Christmas tree for Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' residence in Topeka.

Aurora borealis made a rare Lawrence appearance, putting on a light show for northeast Kansans late on a Sunday night and early Monday morning.

Downtown Lawrence Inc. decides to pull the plug on holiday lights in the trees along Massachusetts Street, choosing instead to outline downtown storefronts in lights.

KU's women's soccer team defeated Creighton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. And first-year women's basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson watched her team roll to a lopsided victory in her first game at the helm.

And KU football beat Missouri at Columbia, coach Mark Mangino's first Big 12 road victory and KU's second straight victory over the Tigers.


Prosecutors staged a five-day preliminary hearing, beginning their case against Thomas E. Murray. The Kansas State University professor was accused of slaying his ex-wife in her rural Lawrence home. Police called the killing one of Douglas County's most brutal.

A controversial appointment to the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission had County Commissioner Jere McElhaney talking again of breaking up the powerful advisory board. He opposed Lawrence Mayor Mike Rundle naming Marguerite Ermeling to the planning panel. Ermeling earlier had unsuccessfully challenged McElhaney for his commission seat.

Lawrence Open Shelter and the Community Drop-In Center announced they would merge. The agencies, which serve the city's homeless, share a building at 10th and Kentucky streets. Meanwhile, downtown merchants complained that the homeless were a nuisance and trashing their businesses.

Huxtable & Associates, a Lawrence company, picked up the $15,000 tab so 42 needy families had Christmas dinners and gifts through Penn House.

Rep. Lee Tafanelli, R-Ozawkie, resigned his Kansas House seat because his Kansas Army National Guard unit was headed for Iraq for a year.

Jurors took about an hour Dec. 22 before finding guilty a Tonganoxie man accused of a Sept. 27 carjacking. Convicted of aggravated robbery and eluding police was 23-year-old Jesse A. Plaster.

Lawrence environmentalists urged wildlife officials to eliminate the hunting season for Sand Hill Cranes after hunters killed two endangered whooping cranes. They said it was too difficult for shooters to differentiate between the species.

Confrontation over loud parties ended with a man opening fire Dec. 21 on a crowd of people in the parking lot of Boardwalk Apartments, 524 Frontier Road. Two people were injured. Randy J. Johnson, 19, was charged in the shootings.

's look at 2004It was a year marked by local and national politics and the city's 150th birthday. Top news and sports stories included a controversial smoking ban for Lawrence, a much ballyhooed visit by Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards and Kansas University's basketball team making it to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament.Below you'll find some of the top news, features, sports and images from 2004.

2004: The Year in Review

A look back at the headlines of 2004

The past year saw some Lawrence residents dispatched to the war zones of Iraq. There were bitter divisions in a presidential election and a controversial ban on cigarette smoking in the city's public spaces. A fiery grass-roots movement to unseat a Douglas County judge was noteworthy because it was so rare in state history. ... Full story.

Cup o' Joel

The most interesting Lawrencians of 2004

Excuse us, for a second, as we slip into our Barbara Walters mode. Walters a few weeks back made a splash by announcing her list of 10 Most Fascinating People of 2004 -- and naming Paris Hilton one of the lucky few. ... Full story.

Journal-World - The top stories of 2004

Smoking ban tops list

A ban on smoking in Lawrence's indoor public places and the continuing fallout over the decision was voted the top Lawrence news story in a year that included slayings, visits by a former president and a presidential candidate, and successful seasons by Kansas University athletic teams. The ban was passed as a public health measure, to protect employees and patrons of businesses from the dangers of secondhand smoke. ... Full story.

6News - Top 10 stories

2004 Top 10 stories

The smoking ban, the season ticket point system for the Kansas men's basketball games and the death of Mary Miller are just some of the stories chosen by the 6News staff as some of the important news events in Lawrence this year. ... Full story. - The Year in Sports

Woodling: '04 was eventful at KU

Such historical events as the retirement of longtime women's basketball coach Marian Washington punctuated 2004 in Kansas University athletics. The calendar year also produced such trifles as the renaming of the ancient rivalry between Kansas and Missouri. ... Full story.

Photos of the Year

Photo Gallery: 2004 in Focus

Journal-World photographers gave us the images that brought the stories home ... See the photos. - Year in Review

Top 'stories' of 2004

The year 2004 will likely go down as a year nobody can remember much about. After all, it's overshadowed by 2001 and marred by events we'll do our best to forget -- a regrettable war, a confounding election, the rise of the machines, the complete disappearance of Ricky Martin, etc. ... Full story.

Best of local music 2004

Step aside, Mannheim Steamroller. Same to you, Bright Eyes. Lawrence music is where it's at this Christmas season, and Omaha's stale cookies are due for humiliation. ... Full story.

6Sports -- Top Stories

6Sports video: Top 10 KU Plays of the Year

From the basketball team's sweep of Missouri to the Big 12 soccer championship and the Sunflower Showdown against Kansas State, 2004 was one of the most memorable years in Jayhawk history. But what were the best plays of the year? ... Full story.

The Year in Film

Best of Film: 'Eternal Sunshine' brightens 2004Worst of Film: 'Alexander' conquers list of worst films in 2004

Jon Niccum sorts through the year's slate of movies to pick the ones that really rocked and the ones that, well, did not rock quite as much. ... Full story.


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