News and notes from around town:
• There’s speculation in Lawrence political circles that City Commissioner Rob Chestnut is being considered for a spot in Gov.-elect Sam Brownback’s administration. According to multiple sources, Chestnut is being considered to serve as the state’s next budget director. Chestnut has declined to comment on the speculation. The position definitely will be one Brownback will fill. Longtime budget director Duane Goossen announced earlier this year that he would leave the post at the end of 2010 to take a job with the Kansas Health Institute. Chestnut — who is the chief financial officer for Lawrence-based Allen Press and who has had a long career in corporate finance — is in the final year of his first term on the City Commission. Chestnut hasn’t yet said whether he plans to seek re-election to the commission in April.
• Also in the realm of city commission speculation, expect to see more names coming forward as potential city commission candidates. The filing deadline for the spring City Commission election is Jan. 25. Thus far, only Hugh Carter — a Lawrence financial planner and former planning commissioner — has filed for one of the three seats up for election. But at least two other Lawrence residents have been openly talking to potential supporters about a run. Bob Schumm — longtime Lawrence restaurant owner and former mayor and commissioner — has been exploring a run. Mike Machell, who has come into the public’s eye recently as the chair of the Lawrence Public Library Board, also has been talking about a run. Neither man, though, has made a formal announcement.
In addition to Chestnut, Commissioners Mike Dever and Lance Johnson also have terms that are expiring. Neither has said whether they plan to run again. The election will be April 5. If a primary is needed, it will be on March 1.
• A large vacant space on Massachusetts Street is filled at least for the holidays. The Sports Dome has opened a store in the former Maurices building at 739 Mass. The Sports Dome also is keeping open its original store at 1000 Mass.
“We’re hoping to cover both ends of downtown,” said Brad Willson, manager of the business.
The new location will carry all of the store’s Kansas University apparel and merchandise. The 1000 Mass. location will carry apparel of professional teams and other non-KU related merchandise.
Wilson said the company wanted the location to increase its holiday presence in downtown, but said the store may stay longer in the location, depending on sales.
• Another sporting apparel retailer, though, is leaving downtown. Campus Cloth.com is in the process of closing its store at 914 Mass. The retailer had been at the spot for about three years, said co-owner Richard Easter.
Easter said business started off strong at the store but has faltered the past two years after the business’ concept of running both a store and a clothing website did not take off.
Easter said the store is expected to be open through the holidays as it sells the last of its merchandise. The business is expected to close by the end of January.
• One area resident won big in a grand opening celebration for Lawrence’s new Discovery Furniture store. Janella Williams won a $25,000 shopping spree at the South Iowa Street retailer, which opened earlier this year in the former Food-4-Less store. Williams — who happens to be a Journal-World employee in the graphic design department (newsroom folks never have that type of luck) — was chosen from shoppers who entered a contest at the store.
• Lawrence city commissioners have canceled their Tuesday evening meeting. Commissioners typically do not meet on the fifth Tuesday of a month. The next meeting is set for 6:35 p.m. on Dec. 7 at City Hall.
What town talk are you hearing? Send me a tip at email@example.com.